Ethel Barrymore for “Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines” (1901)

Ethel Barrymore (1879 – 1959) was regarded as the first “First Lady of the American Theater” she and her brothers, John and Lionel, dominated the American theater in the early 20th century.

In 1901, at age 21, she made her Walnut Street Theatre debut in the play “Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines”.

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Ethel Barrymore in one of the costumes from “Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines”, 1901 via

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Ethel Barrymore in one of the costumes from “Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines”, 1901 via

ca. 1900-1910 --- A portrait of actress Ethel Barrymore in a lovely Edwardian gown. She and her brothers, John and Lionel, dominated the American theater in the early 20th century. --- Image by © CORBIS
 © CORBIS Ethel Barrymore in one of the costumes from “Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines”, 1901 via

Vintage Portrait of Legendary Opera Singer Nellie Melba (1859-1931)

Dame Nellie Melba GBE (1861 – 1931) born Helen “Nellie” Porter Mitchell became one of the most famous singers of the late Victorian Era and the early 20th century. She was the first Australian to achieve international recognition as a classical musician.

She was an operatic soprano. She sang at Richmond (Australia) Public Hall at the age of six and was also a skilled pianist and organist, but she did not study singing until after her marriage to Charles Nesbitt Armstrong in 1882, with whom she had a son named George. In the 1890s she had an affair with Philippe, Duke of Orleans, that led to scandal and eventually divorce.

After the brief and unsuccessful marriage, she moved to Europe in search of a singing career. Failing to find engagements in London in 1886, she studied in Paris and soon made a great success there and in Brussels. Returning to London she quickly established herself as the leading lyric soprano at Covent Garden from 1888. She soon achieved further success in Paris and elsewhere in Europe, and later at the Metropolitan Opera, New York, debuting there in 1893. Her repertoire was small; in her whole career she sang no more than 25 roles and was closely identified with only ten.

Melba continued to sing until the last months of her life and made a legendary number of “farewell” appearances. Her death, in Australia, was news across the English-speaking world, and her funeral was a major national event.

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Drawing of the young Nellie Melba by Frank Haviland, published 1908 via

 

Yvonne Arnaud by Bassano (1912)

Yvonne Arnaud (1890 – 1958) was a French pianist, singer and actress.

After beginning a career as a concert pianist as a child, Arnaud acted in musical comedies.

until 1911, she performed with leading orchestras throughout Europe and the US. In 1911 she decided to try the stage instead of the concert hall and obtained an engagement at London’s Adelphi Theatre as understudy to Elsie Spain in the role of Princess Mathilde in The Quaker Girl, first going on stage in that role on 7 August 1911. She next played the leading role of Suzanne in the musical The Girl in the Taxi (1912), earning popularity with her vivacity and charming French accent.

Around 1920 she switched to non-musical comedy and drama and was one of the players in the second of the Aldwych farces, A Cuckoo in the Nest, a hit in 1925.

She also had dramatic roles and made films in the 1930s and 40s, and continued to act into the 1950s.

She occasionally performed as a pianist later in her career.

by Bassano, whole-plate glass negative, November 1912

Yvonne Arnaud by Bassano, whole-plate glass negative, November 1912

via

© National Portrait Gallery, London

by Bassano, whole-plate glass negative, November 1912

Yvonne Arnaud by Bassano, whole-plate glass negative, November 1912

© National Portrait Gallery, London

by Bassano, whole-plate glass negative, November 1912
Yvonne Arnaud by Bassano, whole-plate glass negative, November 1912

via

© National Portrait Gallery, London

 

Victorian/Edwardian Circus Acts

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Circus Performer Zelda Boden, 1910s via

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Circus cyclists, c. 1891 via

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“Trick Rider”. Usually they would ride in circles doing various tricks on the ponies via

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Circus Girl with horse, 1908 via

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CIRCUS HARLEQUIN Performer, c. 1910 via

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Sanger’s Circus carriage, late 19th century Great Britain via

Lady Carnarvon by Paul César Helleu (c.1901)

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Paul César Helleu, Lady Carnarvon, ca. 1901.

Almina Victoria Marie Alexandra Wombell was the illegitimate child of Alfred de Rothschild, but grew up loved and pampered. She maintained a loving relationship with her father, who was exceptionally wealthy. The Carnarvon family needed an influx of money to maintain their estate at Highclere Castle. Almina, wealthy and accomplished, fell in love with George Edward Stanhope Molyneux Herbert, the future 5th Earl of Carnarvon. Later, he became famous for excavating Tutankhamon’s tomb. The two lived a glamorous life set against the increasing tensions of a pre-World War I. When it quickly became obvious England was entering the war, Almina used her influence and wealth to turn Highclere Castle into a hospital for wounded soldiers. Her approach of individual care, home cooked meals, and holistic ideas were revolutionary at that time, and she found a natural talent for nursing. For four years she worked at both Highclere and later in London, establishing another hospital and gathering the best equipment and talent to help heal the wounded soldiers via