Beautiful Ethereal Edwardian Postcards

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Detail of a French postcard via

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Antique Hand Tinted Real Photo Postcard via

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Antique theatre photo postcard, vintage stage artist Marguerite Brésil via

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Woodland Nymph Examines Leaf, German Postcard, Posted in France, 1909 via

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Romantic Portrait of Edwardian Lady in Ethereal Green Gown by Seaside with Pink Flowers & Columns, early 1900s via

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Edwardian Ballet Dancer Gwen Hope in Sparkling Tutu Costume and Fairy Wings, early 1900s via

Wonderful Edwardian Hand-coloured Postcards of Gabrielle Ray

Gabrielle Ray (1883 – 1973), was an English stage actress, dancer and singer, best known for her roles in Edwardian musical comedies.

NPG x198003; Gabrielle Ray by Bassano Ltd, published by  Aristophot Co Ltd

Gabrielle Ray by Bassano Ltd, published by Aristophot Co Ltd
hand-coloured postcard print, 1900s.

© National Portrait Gallery, London via

NPG x198011; Gabrielle Ray by Bassano Ltd, published by  Aristophot Co Ltd

Gabrielle Ray by Bassano Ltd, published by Aristophot Co Ltd
hand-coloured postcard print, 1900s

© National Portrait Gallery, London via

NPG x160555; Gabrielle Ray published by Davidson Brothers

Gabrielle Ray by The Biograph Studio, published by Davidson Brothers
hand-coloured bromide postcard print, circa 1903

© National Portrait Gallery, London via

NPG x196335; Gabrielle Ray by W. & D. Downey, published by  The Philco Publishing Co

Gabrielle Ray by W. & D. Downey, published by The Philco Publishing Co
hand-coloured bromide postcard print with glitter and sequins, circa 1905

© National Portrait Gallery, London via

NPG x196336; Gabrielle Ray by W. & D. Downey, published by  The Philco Publishing Co

Gabrielle Ray by W. & D. Downey, published by The Philco Publishing Co
hand-coloured bromide postcard print, 1905

© National Portrait Gallery, London via

NPG x22002; Gabrielle Ray published by Davidson Brothers

Gabrielle Ray published by Davidson Brothers
hand-coloured postcard print, circa 1905

© National Portrait Gallery, London via

Beautiful Turn of the Century Postcards by Rita Martin

Rita Martin (1875-1958) started her photographic career in 1897 when she helped her elder sister Lallie Charles to run her studio. In 1906 she opened her own studio, working in a similar studio to Charles, photographing subjects in pale colours against a pure white background, and focused on actresses such as Lily Elsie and Lily Brayton and child studies, particularly of Gladys Cooper’s two children.

Martin’s and Charles’ few surviving negatives were presented to the National Portrait Gallery by their niece Lallie Charles Martin in 1994.

NPG x131516; Dame Gladys Cooper by Rita Martin, published by  J. Beagles & Co

Dame Gladys Cooper

by Rita Martin, published by J. Beagles & Co
bromide postcard print, 1910. © National Portrait Gallery, London via

NPG x131515; Dame Gladys Cooper by Rita Martin, published by  J. Beagles & Co

Dame Gladys Cooper

by Rita Martin, published by J. Beagles & Co
bromide postcard print, 1910. © National Portrait Gallery, London via

NPG x131528; Lily Elsie (Mrs Bullough) by Rita Martin, published by  J. Beagles & Co

Lily Elsie (Mrs Bullough)

by Rita Martin, published by J. Beagles & Co
bromide postcard print, 1907. © National Portrait Gallery, London via

NPG x131530; Lily Elsie (Mrs Bullough) by Rita Martin, published by  J. Beagles & Co

Lily Elsie (Mrs Bullough)

by Rita Martin, published by J. Beagles & Co
bromide postcard print, 1907. © National Portrait Gallery, London via

NPG x131450; Lily Brayton as Katherine in 'The Taming of the Shrew' by Rita Martin

Lily Brayton as Katherine in ‘The Taming of the Shrew’

by Rita Martin
postcard print, 1904. © National Portrait Gallery, London via

NPG x131451; Lily Brayton as Katherine in 'The Taming of the Shrew' by Rita Martin, published by  Aristophot Co Ltd

Lily Brayton as Katherine in ‘The Taming of the Shrew’

by Rita Martin
postcard print, 1904. © National Portrait Gallery, London via

NPG x128831; Nora Kerin in 'The Prince and the Beggarmaid' by Rita Martin, published by  Rotary Photographic Co Ltd

Nora Kerin in ‘The Prince and the Beggarmaid’

by Rita Martin, published by Rotary Photographic Co Ltd
bromide postcard print, 1908. © National Portrait Gallery, London via

NPG x128832; Nora Kerin in 'The Prince and the Beggarmaid' by Rita Martin, published by  Rotary Photographic Co Ltd

Nora Kerin in ‘The Prince and the Beggarmaid’

by Rita Martin, published by Rotary Photographic Co Ltd
bromide postcard print, 1908. © National Portrait Gallery, London via

Gabrielle Ray as Frou Frou in The Merry Widow (1907)

In the first decade of the 20th century, Gabrielle Ray (1883 – 1973) had a good career in musical theatre, she was considered one of the most beautiful actresses on the London stage, and became one of the most photographed women in the world.

In 1907, Ray played Frou Frou in The Merry Widow, which became a sensation. The operetta starred Lily Elsie, Joseph Coyne and Robert Evett, with costumes by Lucile. It ran for 778 performances in London and toured extensively in Great Britain.

Ray’s dance number, complete with handstands and high kicks, all performed on a table at Maxim’s held head high by four men, was a show stopper.

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Gabrielle Ray as “Frou Frou” in “The Merry Widow” 1907. Costumes by Lucile via

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Gabrielle Ray as “Frou Frou” in “The Merry Widow” 1907. Costumes by Lucile via

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Gabrielle Ray as “Frou Frou” and mr. W. Berry in “The Merry Widow” 1907. Costumes by Lucile via

A Collection of Vintage Photos Feat. Ice Skaters

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Ice Skating couple

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Ice Skating on the Lullwater Prospect Park

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1901 Ice Skating on Great Miami River

Women-Ice-Skating by J.R. Taylor

Women Ice Skating by J.R. Taylor

Ice skating - Fred Flake and Flo Coine; Frank Thompson and Mrs. Matheson, 1910-1915

Ice Skaters

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Ice skating dress

Edwardian London on Film

The definition of ‘rush hour’ in London grows woollier as the years pass: at its worst it seems to stretch demonically from 6am to 9pm.

Journey back over a century to July 1896, though, and this tantalising half-minute of footage reveals our Victorian counterparts making their way to work across the Thames by tram, horse-drawn carriage and, for the health-conscious (or the poor), good old Shanks’ pony. More or less business as usual then, although compared to the daily human onslaught we face in 21st century London, the commuters caught by R.W. Paul’s static camera proceed at an enviably elegant pace. (Simon McCallum)

Made over 100 years ago, this footage shows a number of scenes shot around central London, taking in locations such as Hyde Park Corner, Parliament Square and Charing Cross Station. We see crowds of people disembarking from a pleasure steamer at Victoria Embankment, pedestrians dodging horse-drawn carriages in Pall Mall, and heavy traffic trotting down the Strand.

This fascinating film provides an authentic view of London’s East End from over a hundred years ago. Flat-capped men flow in a Sunday morning tide down Middlesex Street – better known by its unofficial name, Petticoat Lane – just as they have for generations.

This most Cockney of London markets caters to the second clothes trade: at the time when this film was made, the market was dominated by the East End street sellers and the Jewish rag trade. As the camera pans across the market, we see the traders raised above the general level, barking at the crowd. The few women in the picture are stall-holders, selling patched-up trousers and restored boots, while a nearby card sharp tempts the punters.