Parisian Postcards of Mata Hari by Lucien Waléry (1906)

Lucien Waléry lived and worked in Paris in the period 1900-1930. He photographed an extraordinary number of beautiful women from most of the particular risque dance revues, a.o. Mata Hari and Josephine Baker.

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Postcard of Mata Hari in Paris by Lucien Waléry, 1906 via

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Postcard of Mata Hari in Paris by Lucien Waléry, 1906 via

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Postcard of Mata Hari in Paris by Lucien Waléry, 1906 via

Princess Clara Ward Postcard

Clara Ward (1873 – 1916) was a wealthy American socialite who married a prince from Belgium. Her main talents were being beautiful by the standards of the time, and being famous. She combined the two by posing on various stages, including at least the Folies Bergère and probably also the Moulin Rouge, while wearing skin-tight costumes.

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Postcard of theater star Clara Ward, ca. 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

The Most Wonderful Hair in Europe! Vintage Photos of Cantatrice Aline Vallandri

Cantatrice Aline Vallandri (1878 – 1952) was born in Paris and made her debut in 1904 at the Opéra-Comique, where she thrived for nearly thirty years. However, her operatic successes were scarcely more renowned than the phenomenal beauty of her golden locks. The secret behind them she claimed was:

“It was when I was sent to a convent to finish my education that my hair began to grow luxuriantly. One of the nuns had a special lotion which she used for her hair. She gave me the recipe for it, and I have used it ever since. Unfortunately, I cannot make the recipe public, as I promised to keep it a secret. Every doctor, however, can give a prescription which, if persevered in, will make the hair grow” (Source)
Aline Vallandri via
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Aline Vallandri via
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Aline Vallandri via
Aline Vallandr via
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A Collection of Vintage Photos featuring Princesse Clara Ward

The story of Clara Ward (1873 – 1916) is poorly known today, but in the early 1890s she was the toast of the United States.

She came to the public’s attention in 1889 or early 1890 when it was announced that the distinguished Belgian visitor to the United States, Marie Joseph Anatole Pierre Alphonse de Riquet, Prince de Caraman-Chimay, a member of the Belgian Chamber of Deputies, had proposed marriage to the very young, very attractive daughter of a very wealthy family.

That her husband-to-be was more than twice her age, quite poor, and even, perhaps, not very handsome, seems to have been of minor consequence.

They were married on 19 May 1890, in fin-de-siècle Paris. Ward was now properly styled “Princesse de Caraman-Chimay”, but usually went by “Clara, Princess of Chimay”. Americans were ecstatic about their new princess.

Some time after the birth of their second child, probably in 1896, the Prince and Princess Chimay were dining in Paris, at what may be expected to have been a suitably elegant establishment. Present at the restaurant was a Hungarian, Rigó Jancsi, who eked out a living providing Gypsy music.

After a series of secret meetings, Ward and Rigó eloped in December 1896. The Prince and Princesse de Caraman-Chimay were divorced on 19 January 1897. The new couple married, probably in Hungary.

Not too surprisingly, Clara Ward, still usually called the Princess Chimay, soon found her resources dwindling. The never-very-full Chimay coffers were certainly closed to her, and although Ward was resourceful, her American family had to intervene from time to time to straighten out her tangled finances.

Her main talents were being beautiful by the standards of the time, and being famous. She combined the two by posing on various stages, including at least the Folies Bergère and probably also the Moulin Rouge, while wearing skin-tight costumes. She called her art-form her poses plastiques.

Perhaps the income from this odd occupation was sufficient for the couple to live reasonably well. The idyll was not to last, Rigó being unfaithful to her. They were divorced fairly soon after their marriage, either shortly before or after Ward met her next true love, one Peppino Ricciardo, sometimes stated to have been Spanish, but who was most likely Italian. He is believed to have been a waiter whom she met on a train.

They married in 1904, but Peppino Ricciardo probably did not last long. The timing is vague, but Ward’s next true love, and her last husband, is thought to have been a station manager of the little Italian railroad that helped visitors tour Mount Vesuvius, a Signore Cassalota. Ward is believed to have still been married to her fourth husband when she died in Padua, Italy, on 9 December 1916, aged 43. There was a rumor that she died a pauper with nothing left except a few jewels. But the American Consul at Venice stated publicly that she “was in possesion of a very large income and lived in a manner befitting its possessor

In her lifetime she had spent much time in both the society and gossip columns of two continents. She had been widely known, envied and admired, desired, loathed and reviled. She was often photographed, and featured on many postcards during the Edwardian period, sometimes in a pose plastique and sometimes in more or less conventional dress.

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A young Clara Ward

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Clara Ward, postcard via

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Clara Ward, Postcard via

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Clara ward via

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Clara Ward, Postcard via

Clara Ward with Rigo Jancsi – Triomphe de la Femme, 1905 via

Clara Ward, by Léopold-Emile Reutlinger, ca. 1905 via