Surreal Vignette by Cecil Beaton (1936)

Ruth Ford (1911-2009) was an American model and stage and film actress. As a model she posed for Harper’s, Town and Country and Mademoiselle. She was best known for the salon she created at her beautiful, art-lined Manhattan apartment, frequented by the likes of William Faulkner, Cecil Beaton, Truman Capote and Andy Warhol (source).

Her brother was the bohemian surrealist Charles Henri Ford.

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Cecil Beaton Surreal Vignette, Ruth Ford with tapemeasure. 1936 via

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Cecil Beaton Surreal Vignette, Ruth Ford with tapemeasure. 1936 via

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Cecil Beaton Surreal Vignette, Ruth Ford with tapemeasure. 1936 via

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Cecil Beaton Surreal Vignette, Ruth Ford with tapemeasure. 1936 via

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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

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 1901 in one of the costumes from “Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines”.

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Ethel Barrymore in 1901 in one of the costumes from “Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines“.

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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 1901 in one of the costumes from “Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines”.

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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

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© 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

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© National Portrait Gallery, London

 

Tallulah Bankhead – Jazz Age Bonne Vivante

Tallulah Bankhead (1902 – 1968) was born in Huntsville, Alabama. Her father was a member of the Democratic Party and served as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1936-1940.

Tallulah started her stage career in the local theater at age 15. At age 16, she won a beauty contest and moved to New York City to try her hand at Broadway. She did not make any headway on the stages of New York, so she pulled up stakes and moved to London in 1923.

For the next several years, she was the most popular actress of London’s famed West End. After starring in several well-received plays, she gained the attention of Paramount Pictures executives and returned to the United States to try her hand at the film world.

Hollywood success eluded her in her first four films of the 1930s so she went back to Broadway were she was succesfull. Later, in 1944, Alfred Hitchcock cast her as cynical journalist Constance Porter in her most successful film Lifeboat. Her performance won her the New York Film Critics Circle Award. A beaming Bankhead accepted her New York trophy and exclaimed, “Dahlings, I was wonderful!”.

Bankhead was also known for her deep voice, flamboyant personality and support of liberal causes. She circulated widely in the celebrity crowd of her day and was a party favorite for outlandish stunts, such as doing cartwheels in a skirt while wearing no underwear or entering a soirée stark naked.

Tallulah Bankhead died at age 66 of pneumonia in her beloved New York City.

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Tallulah Bankhead, 1920s

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Tallulah Bankhead

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Tallulah Bankhead

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Marie Doro – Beautiful Edwardian Actress

Marie Doro (b. 1882) was an American stage and film actress of the early silent film era. Like many other young ladies, she started out in the chorus in musical comedy productions. Marie Doro starred in at least 18 movies including ‘The Admirable Crichton’ in 1903, ‘Sherlock Holmes’ in 1905-06, ‘Electricity’ in 1910 and ‘Diplomacy’ in 1914. On tour of England in the mid 1900’s, she starred with the unknown teenage Charles Chaplin.

By the early 1920s Doro became increasingly disillusioned with Hollywood and her acting career. She returned to the Broadway stage one last time in 1921 with Josephine Drake in Lilies of the Field. She made two more feature films, the last of them being Sally Bishop, but left Hollywood in 1924, relocated to Europe for a time and made a number of films in Italy and the UK. Returning to the United States, she became increasingly reclusive and drawn to spiritual matters. After moving to New York City, she briefly studied at the Union Theological Seminary.

After returning to the United States, she spent the rest of her life in seclusion. She would often go on self-styled “retreats” in which she went to extremes to elude friends and acquaintances, even to the point of changing hotels four times a week.

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Marie Doro – circa 1900

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Marie Doro – circa 1900

Bassano. Marie Doro. 1913.

Maria Doro

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