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.

 

A Collection Of Vintage Photos featuring Anna Pavlova

Anna Pavlova  (1881 – 1931) was a Russian Empire ballerina of the late 19th and the early 20th centuries. She is widely regarded as one of the finest classical ballet dancers in history and was most noted as a principal artist of the Imperial Russian Ballet and the Ballets Russes of Sergei Diaghilev.

Young Pavlova’s years of training were difficult. Classical ballet did not come easily to her. Her severely arched feet, thin ankles, and long limbs clashed with the small and compact body in favour for the ballerina at the time. Her fellow students taunted her with such nicknames as The broom and The little savage. Undeterred, Pavlova trained to improve her technique and  took extra lessons from the noted teachers of the day. Many of her famous qoutes are about hard work paying of e.g.:

Success depends in a very large measure upon individual initiative and exertion, and cannot be achieved except by a dint of hard work

Pavlova is perhaps most renowned for creating the role of The Dying Swan, a solo choreographed for her by Michel Fokine. The ballet, created in 1905, is danced to Le cygne from The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns.

While touring in The Hague, Pavlova was told that she had pneumonia and required an operation. She was also told that she would never be able to dance again if she went ahead with it. She refused to have the surgery, saying “If I can’t dance then I’d rather be dead.” She died of pleurisy, three weeks short of her 50th birthday.

Anna Pavlova, costumed as The dying swan (5)

Anna Pavlova

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Anna Pavlova

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Anna Pavlova

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Anna Pavlova

Anna_Pavlova

Anna Pavlova

anna in her wedding dress

Anna Pavlova

The Dying Swan

The short ballet follows the last moments in the life of a swan, and was first presented in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1905. Pavlova performed the dance about 4,000 times. The ballet has since influenced modern interpretations of Odette in Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and has inspired non-traditional interpretations and various adaptations.

Edwardian Actress Gabrielle Ray by Bassano (1900s)

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Gabrielle Ray by Bassano Ltd, published by Rotary Photographic Co Ltd
bromide postcard print, 1900s. © National Portrait Gallery, London via

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Gabrielle Ray by Bassano Ltd, published by Rotary Photographic Co Ltd
bromide postcard print, 1900s. © National Portrait Gallery, London via

May de Sousa by Bassano (1905)

May De Sousa (1884 – 1948) was an American singer and a Broadway actress.

She came to fame in 1898 as the singer of “Dear Midnight of Love”, a ballad by Bathhouse John Coughlin. She retired in 1918 following a theatrical production in Australia. She married a local doctor and eventually moved to Shanghai.

In 1943, following two periods as a prisoner of war in internment camps in China, she returned to the United States on the Gripsholm and took a job in Chicago as a scrubwoman in the public-school system. She died in Chicago charity ward, of malnutrition, at age 66.

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May De Sousa by Bassano, c. 1905 via

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May De Sousa by Bassano, c. 1905 via

Vintage Photos of Rooms and Interiors from the 1900s

I want the glass mosaic framed picture from this modern 1906 bedroom interior. Yellow wallpaper, grey carpets. Otto Prutscher, Vienna.

1906 bedroom interior. Yellow wallpaper, grey carpets. Otto Prutscher, Vienna.

1910s Executive dining room with seating for six by William Herman Rau (1855-1920) prominent Philadelphia photographer

"The Drawing Room at Foots Cray Place in Bexley. It was built in circa 1756 and burnt down in 1950. The furnishings seen here are typical of the late 19th century. Bexley, London, 1900"

The Drawing Room at Foots Cray Place in Bexley. It was built in circa 1756 and burnt down in 1950. The furnishings seen here are typical of the late 19th century. Bexley, London, 1900

Edwardian bedroom, from the William James family fonds, Toronto Archives

Edwardian bedroom, from the William James family fonds, Toronto Archives

Smoking and gambling room at the Reichstag building in Berlin, 1903. Chesterfield leather sofas and brown gold stencilled wallpaper.    <3 Schablonentechnik

Smoking and gambling room at the Reichstag building in Berlin, 1903. Chesterfield leather sofas and brown gold stencilled wallpaper