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I’m delighted to have sold two of these greeting cards. It’s a montage of British actresses from the late 19th and early 20th century from my theatrical postcard collection. Those of you interested in theatre greats will be happy to learn that Dame Ellen Terry features three times, for which I make no apology! If young actors have not heard of her, they have no right to be on the stage. [Ed. Too obstinate?] As the late Alan Rickman said — and I’m oft repeating —  “The profession should be and is a kind of relay race – about information, opinions and passions being passed on.” [Theatregoer Magazine, November 2001]

Source: The Actresses Card | Zazzle

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Continuing in the same vein as yesterday, here is the inimitable English actress Dame Ellen Terry [1847-1928] in Much Ado About Nothing at the Lyceum Theatre in 1883.

Size: Greeting Card

Birthdays or holidays, good days or hard days, Zazzle’s customized greeting cards are the perfect way to convey your wishes on any occasion. Add a photo or pick a design and brighten someone’s day with a simple “hi”!

  • Dimensions: 5″ x 7″ (portrait) or 7″ x 5″ (landscape)
  • Full color CMYK print process
  • All-sided printing for no additional cost
  • Printable area on the back of the card is 3″ x 4″ (portrait) or 4″ x 3″ (landscape)

Standard white envelopes included

Paper Type: Matte

The most popular paper choice, Matte’s eggshell texture is soft to the touch with a smooth finish that provides the perfect backdrop for your chosen designs.

  • Light white, uncoated matte finish with an eggshell texture
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Source: Dame Ellen Terry Card | Zazzle

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


I’m feeling less than divine at the moment but I hope you enjoy this exquisite image of my namesake which you can buy as cards, postcards and posters.

The great French stage actress of the late 19th century, Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923).

Orientation: Postcard

Create your own vacation-worthy postcards right here. Any view you’ve seen, any monument you’ve fallen in love with, can all be added to our postcards with our personalization tool. Craft touching, hand-written correspondence while on your next road trip!

  • Dimensions: 4.25″ x 5.6″ (portrait) or 5.6″ x 4.25″ (landscape)
  • Full colour CMYK print process
  • Double sided printing for no additional cost
  • Postage rate: $0.34

Paper Type: Matte

The most popular paper choice, Matte’s eggshell texture is soft to the touch with a smooth finish that provides the perfect backdrop for your chosen designs.

  • Light white, uncoated matte finish with an eggshell texture
  • Paper is easy to write on and won’t smudge
  • Made and printed in the USA

Source: The Divine Sarah Postcard | Zazzle

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


I just adore this portrait of Elizabeth Farren! As soon as I enter the gallery where she is housed (in the European wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art), I swoon. I hardly notice any othe…

Source: The Portrait of Elizabeth Farren, Painted by Sir Thomas Lawrence (1789) | cliocult…Muse your brain!


Features / The Divine Feminine 30 October 2015 / Art Universe 4 October 2015 / Everyday Women 10 September 2015 / Layered Up 9 September 2015 / Take a black and white scan of actress Miss Lillah McCarthy (1875–1960) as Viola in Twelfth Night (1912) from an issue of Play Pictorial in my theatre collection. Throw on some magic with Photoshop in the form of textures by 2 Lil’ Owls along with a Cretan seascape photograph shot from on board a fishing boat, plus a texture from Angie Makes, and Viola is transformed, translated. I’m thinking of Quince to Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (’Thou art translated’, Act 3, Scene 1) when I use this word in the title. • Also buy this artwork on stationery, apparel, stickers, and more.

Source: “Viola Translated” Spiral Notebooks by Sarah Vernon | Redbubble

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


This is a shameless plug for my friends Ana-Luisa and Simon Scrutton who recently moved to South West France to open two exquisite, traditional gites for idyllic holidays. As soon as I am properly settled back in England, I shall be booking myself in for a restorative break, of that you can be sure.

Fancy-Keyhole-Ornament-GraphicsFairy

‘We offer the visitor the most wonderful and unique experience in the tranquillity of a beautiful traditional Charente village of Lesterps, which is famous for its bonhomie, 11th/13th Century Abbaie (which can be seen from our garden) and the Richard Coeur de Lions trail which begins nearby. Lesterps has many public events including a famous accordion festival. The gardens here are extensive, We offer two splendid gites, Garden Gite, opens directly onto the landscaped grounds, from its beautiful kitchen, equipped with a splendid cooker range and log-burner. It has its own dining terrace which invites the visitor to…’

Source: Traditional Charente Holiday Cottages

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Gladys Cooper [1888-1971] in Fancy Dress Greeting Card
Miss Gladys Cooper [1888-1971] in Fancy Dress Greeting Card by FirstNightVintage


Looking into a mirror on her deathbed: ‘If this is what virus pneumonia does to one, I really don’t think I shall bother to have it again.’ IMDb

I do hope this is not apocryphal!


Miss Gladys Cooper Greeting Card
Miss Gladys Cooper [1888-1971] Greeting Card by FirstNightVintage

Unless you’re a theatre buff, you will probably only know Gladys Cooper for her grand ladies on screen such as Bette Davis’ mother, Mrs Henry Vale, in Now, Voyager or Beatrice Lacy in Rebecca.

In Now, Voyager (1942) [Wikipedia]

In Now, Voyager (1942) [Wikipedia]

I always find it enchanting to see how beautiful these wonderful actresses were in their younger days. Have you ever seen a photograph of Ethel Barrymore when young? I think you’ll be surprised. Which reminds me that I have a terrific theatre postcard of her brother John with which I must do something before the century turns.

Available at the following galleries:
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Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Theatrical Attitude © Sarah Vernon

Theatrical Attitude © Sarah Vernon

This enchantress  was the famous late 19th and early 20th century actress and singer Miss Marie Tempest [1864-1942], who is referred to in the description on the back of my original print as ‘the prima donna of the English stage’ and possessing ‘a very beautiful voice which has had the training it deserves’.

I imagined a faded portrait in a frame that has suffered neglect and fire damage with a hint of gold breaking through. Naturally, I imagined no such thing but this is what came out when I faffed around in Photoshop with a couple of textures from 2 Lil’ Owls: 2LO Confetti 6 (Normal), 2LO – Crackle 11 (Multiply).

Theatrical aficionados might be interested to learn that the actress was the original Judith Bliss in Noël Coward’s Hay Fever. She was made a Dame in  1937.


“Hitler has taken nearly everything from me but my life, but you can’t live on regret. You’ve got to live for the present and future, not the past.”
She was forced to sell her art collection after losing her home in a German air raid during WWII. IMDb


Available at the following galleries:
Redbubble
Crated
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK
Fine Art America
Fine Art England
Saatchi Art

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Take a black and white scan of actress Miss Lillah McCarthy (1875–1960) as Viola in Twelfth Night (1912) from an issue of Play Pictorial in my theatre collection. Throw on some magic in the form of textures by 2 Lil’ Owls (Owls Beguiling-18, 2LO – Crackle 11, and 2LO Confetti 6 along with a Cretan seascape photograph shot from on board a fishing boat,  plus a texture from Angie Makes (bluewatercolor), and Viola is transformed, translated. I’m thinking of Quince to Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (’Thou art translated’, Act 3, Scene 1) when I use this word in the title.

Miss Lillah McCarthy was the first wife of the playwright Harley Granville Barker, thrown over for a rich second wife. She created the role of Ann in George Bernard Shaw’s Man and Superman, among much else.


‘And let me see thee in thy women’s weeds.’
Orsino to Viola in Twelfth Night, Act 5, Scene 1


Available to buy at the following galleries!
Redbubble
Crated
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK
Fine Art America
Fine Art England
Saatchi Art

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


My starting point for this piece was a divine original book-plate from 1899 of the British actress Miss Dorothea Baird (1875-1933), which I bought from collectors Vintage Views, along with a few other goodies which will be revealed in the weeks to come.

I will be posting the original on First Night Vintage at some point but here I have superimposed a vintage theatre programme from my archive for a production at the Lyric Theatre onto the curtains of the original. If I were to tell you the number of other images and textures I used, including Island in the Storm, you probably wouldn’t believe me!

Dorothea Baird first appeared on stage  in 1894 for the Oxford University Dramatic Society or OUDS as Iris in The Tempest. She performed in several Shakespeare productions in the following years, often with her husband, H. B. Irving, Sir Henry’s son. She also originated the part of Mrs Darling in Peter Pan (1904). It was a short but notable career, ending in 1913 when she retired and concentrated her energies on charitable causes.

Mr H B Irving Greeting Card

Mr. H. B. Irving (1870 – 1919) as Hamlet at the Adelphi Theatre 1904.

Mr H B Irving Greeting Card

The text below is an extract from what is printed on the reverse side of the book-plate and is an effusive, to say the least, appraisal of Miss Baird and her trumpeted performance in the title role of George du Maurier’s Trilby, produced at the Haymarket Theatre in 1895. You will not have read the like in the 20th or 21st century!

‘MISS DOROTHEA BAIRD made her first appearance on the stage in 1894, when she played Iris in “The Tempest,” and Galatea in “Pygmalion and Galatea,” at the performances of the Oxford University Dramatic Society. After that, Miss Baird went a-touring with Mr. Ben Greet’s company—whence we have derived so many stage recruits—and in her time played many parts. But to Londoners, Miss Dorothea Baird is Trilby; Trilby, in spite of her appearance as the heroine of Mr. Louis Parker’s play, The Happy Life,” at the Duke of York’s Theatre; in spite of her Phoebe in As You Like It,” at the St. James’s; in spite of her charming Diane in A Court Scandal,” at the Court Theatre. And, whatever may be the success in store for her, it is probable that it is of her Trilby we shall tell our grandchildren when we inform them in the usual way that acting was acting in our young days [….] From the above will be learned the impressions of the moment of a remarkable “first night.”‘

Available at the following galleries:
Redbubble
Crated
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK
Fine Art America
Fine Art England
Saatchi Art

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


ONE FROM THE ARCHIVE. In view of my recent posts about Maude Fealy, I thought it was time to reblog this article from 2012, partly because I have nothing else prepared!

First Night Design

As I have recently said on Facebook, whenever I sell a theatre-related design on whatever product, my heart leaps. Theatre is in my blood, partly because I spent over 30 years as an actress and partly because I was, as the saying goes, ‘born in a trunk’.  This theatre term used to mean that you were born on tour of theatrical parents and that while other babies spent their days and nights in cribs and prams, you spent yours sustained by the smell of greasepaint and curled up in the theatre’s wardrobe skip, either in the wings or one of  the dressing rooms.  Now it has the more general meaning of having theatrical parentage. I am reminded of another phrase, which was coined by the playwright Tom Robertson, as revealed by Clement Scott in The Drama of Yesterday and Today [Vol. I] (pub. Macmillan & Co, 1899), and of…

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Miss Ellen Terry as Beatrice Throw Pillow
Miss Ellen Terry as Beatrice Throw Pillows

It is such a treat to have sold a greeting card of Ellen Terry as Beatrice in Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing alongside a matching cushion. I have lived with this theatrical postcard all my life. It was given to my mother by an actress friend and my mother handed it on to me.

In her memoir, The Story of My Life: Recollections and Reflections, Dame Ellen writes:

‘When Henry Irving put on “Much Ado About Nothing”—a play which he may be said to have done for me, as he never really liked the part of Benedick—I was not the same Beatrice at all. A great actor can do nothing badly, and there was so very much to admire in Henry Irving’s Benedick. But he gave me little help. Beatrice must be swift, swift, swift! Owing to Henry’s rather finicking, deliberate method as Benedick, I could never put the right pace into my part. I was also feeling unhappy about it, because I had been compelled to give way about a traditional “gag” in the church scene, with which we ended the fourth act. In my own production we had scorned this gag, and let the curtain come down on Benedick’s line: “Go, comfort your cousin; I must say she is dead, and so farewell.” When I was told that we were to descend to the buffoonery of:

Beatrice: Benedick, kill him—kill him if you can.
Benedick: As sure as I’m alive, I will!

I protested, and implored Henry not to do it. He said that it was necessary: otherwise the “curtain” would be received in dead silence. I assured him that we had often had seven and eight calls without it. I used every argument, artistic and otherwise. Henry, according to his custom, was gentle, would not discuss it much, but remained obdurate. After holding out for a week, I gave in. “It’s my duty to obey your orders, and do it,” I said, “but I do it under protest.” Then I burst into tears. It was really for his sake just as much as for mine. I thought it must bring such disgrace on him! Looking back on the incident, I find that the most humorous thing in connection with it was that the critics, never reluctant to accuse Henry of “monkeying” with Shakespeare if they could find cause, never noticed the gag at all!


Ellen Terry  drawn from photographs  by  Albert Sterner

Ellen Terry drawn from photographs by Albert Sterner and included in her memoir.


“This mutable woman, all instinct, sympathy and sensation, is as painstaking a student and as careful of the dignity of her art as Flaubert himself.” Virginia Woolf

“[Her name] rings like a chime through the last quarter of the 19th century.” George Bernard Shaw

“Blow that word charm! There is more to my acting than charm!” Ellen Terry

These three quotes are taken from a Lynne Truss article in The Guardian.


Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


I am reblogging this post to commemorate the birth of artist John Singer Sargent on this day in 1856.

First Night Design

The Italian-born American artist John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), who was renowned for his society portraits, persuaded Dame Ellen Terry (1847-1928) to sit for him in 1889. According to Tate Britain, where the painting is on display, this particular pose was never a part of her actual interpretation of Lady Macbeth, which she first performed opposite Sir Henry Irving at the Lyceum Theatre in 1888. The famous beetlewing costume was restored to its full glory between 2006 and 2011 and is back on display in the Ellen Terry Museum at Smallhythe Place in Kent, the last and much-loved home of the great actress. The Guardian reported in March 2011 that the gown ‘had led a hard life, particularly given Terry’s reputation for arriving late and dressing at frantic speed’.

Have a great weekend.  Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah

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Rogues & Vagabonds

via PRETTY ACTRESS WITH POOR POSTURE IN LONDON, ENGLAND (LILIAN CARLYLE) | THE CABINET CARD GALLERY

A pretty actress exhibits poor posture as she poses in London, England, at the studio of Ellis & Wallery. The performers name is Miss Lilian Carlyle, and she appears to be pushing her chest out, possibly to amplify her ample bust. Is there a chiropractor in the house? Printing on the reverse of the photograph states that the studio was established in 1884.  The backdrop employed in this portrait is not particularly realistic but at least it doesn’t detract from the portrait and allows Miss Carlyle to be the major focus. 

Read more…

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Femme Fatale in Sepia
Femme Fatale in Sepia (US) by FirstNightDesign

Femme Fatale in Sepia
Femme Fatale in Sepia (UK) by FirstNightDesign


“I’ve never considered myself a femme fatale as I’ve never seduced anyone and ruined their lives. At least as far as I know.”
― Scarlett Johansson


Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah

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