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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


Orientation: Postcard

  • Dimensions: 4.25″ x 5.6″ (portrait) or 5.6″ x 4.25″ (landscape)
  • Full color 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 Yeomen of the Guard Postcard | Zazzle

N.B. I’m not currently responding to comments or visiting blogs because of ill-health but I much appreciate your support.

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
  • Paper is easy to write on and won’t smudge
  • Made and printed in the USA

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


Size: Greeting Card

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

  • Dimensions: 5″l x 7″w (portrait) or 7″l x 5″w (landscape)
  • Printed on 110 lb, 12.5 point thick, semi-gloss paper
  • Matte finish inside for smudge-free writing
  • Add photos and text to all sides of this folded card at no extra charge
  • Printable area on the back of the card is 3″l x 4″w (portrait) or 4″l x 3″w (landscape)
  • Standard white envelopes included

Source: Twelfth Night Greeting Card | Zazzle

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Known as ‘The Voice of the Empire’ or ‘The Voice of the Century’, Dame Clara Butt (1872-1936) was born in Sussex and brought up in Bristol. She became one of the most famous and beloved of English recitalists and concert singers. A ‘booming’ contralto, she was remarkably imposing at 6′ 2″. Sheet music, tea tray and piano from The Graphics Fairy. Other sheet music from DigitalCollageImages on Flickr. The flourish to the left is from VintageArtDownload.com and the vintage postcard of Clara Butt is in my own collection.

Source: Taking Tea with Clara Butt T-Shirt | Zazzle

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


FROM THE ARCHIVE 27th March 2011
On the right is one of my latest designs, There are No Small Parts, which features a couple of characters taken from an original programme for the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company production of Gil…

Source: That’s Entertainment! | First Night Design


Miss Marie Studholme  [1875-1930], a popular Edwardian performer, played the title role in a 1905 production of the musical comedy  Lady Madcap. The music was by Paul Rubens who wrote the lyrics with Percy Greenbank, while the book was written by Nathaniel Newnham-Davis, The show had originally opened at the Prince of Wales Theatre in 1904 before touring the provinces. The tale is a classic of its time with the daughter of an Earl holding a ball at her father’s castle without, of course, telling him. Once she decides to pose as her maid, mayhem ensues.

Born Caroline Maria Lupton in Bradford, Marie Studholme made her debut at the Lyric Theatre in London during the late 19th century although her later career would show that she was particularly popular with provincial audiences. It is said that she charged sixpence for autographs so she could donate the money to theatrical and animal charities, a practice I think should be introduced across the board today.

Bradford Alhambra [Wikipedia]Bradford Alhambra [Wikipedia]

She apparently took Jujitsu lessons and invented an early form of air conditioning by blowing air from an electric fan over iced water. One 21st century commentator  has referred to her as the ‘original Spice Girl’. No comment!

Miss Marie Studholme retired in 1915 but not before rounding off her career by performing at the opening of the Alhambra music hall in her home town the previous year.


‘Miss Marie Studholme was beautiful, of course, as Alice, and easily found her way to favour by her graceful dancing.’ Review of Alice at the The Prince of Wales Theatre, London, in Lloyds Weekly News [London] – 23rd June, 1906.


Available at the following galleries:
Redbubble
Crated
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK
Fine Art America [14 fulfillment centers in 5 countries]

Source Links:

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


I present Miss Lily Elsie (1886-1962) and Mr Joseph Coyne (1861-1947) in The Merry Widow in 1907

This Edwardian production in which Lily Elsie made her name, was the beginning of a glittering career for the actress on the musical stage. Everyone wanted to see the show which had music by Franz Lehar and lyrics by Adrian Ross. Based on the Viennese operetta Die Lustige Witwe by Victor Leon and Leo Stein, it was adapted from Henri Meilhae’s play L’Attaché d’Ambassade. Apparently, King Edward VII saw it four times.   LilyElsie.com

Joseph Coyne was an American-born musical actor who started his career in Vaudeville. He first went to London to appear in 1901 and spent most of his career on the British stage. “It is no good their pretending to be any one else. We go to see themselves, and all we ask is that the authors and others shall give them every chance of being themselves in the most pronounced and personal fashion,” said one critic about Coyne. Wikipedia

The Merry Widow Bicycle Playing Cards
The Merry Widow Bicycle Playing Cards by FirstNightDesign

I’m particularly fond of the image because I love the damage that age has wrought and was not inclined to repair it digitally when I first added to my Zazzle store a few years ago.

The Merry Widow iPhone 5 Case
The Merry Widow iPhone 5 Case by FirstNightDesign

Available at the following galleries:
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


The Palace Theatre of Varieties
The Palace Theatre of Varieties

Palace Theatre of Varieties Greeting Cards
Palace Theatre of Varieties Greeting Cards

Both of these designs are adapted from my original late 19th century music hall playbills for the Palace Theatre of Varieties, ‘The Handsomest Music Hall in Europe’.

This London theatre was originally built as a venue for opera by Richard D’Oyly Carte but only one opera – Arthur Sullivan’s Ivanhoe – was ever produced.  The theatre was renamed the Palace Theatre in 1911, a name it retains to this day.

Varieties & Novelties Greeting Card
Varieties & Novelties Greeting Card


‘Without music life would be a mistake.’
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


A story is told that in 1806 a man goes to visit a doctor who is acclaimed for his ability to treat melancholia. “I can’t eat, I can’t sleep,” says the man. “I feel constantly miserable.  Please help me, doctor.”

“Laughter is the best medicine, my friend,” says the doctor. “Take yourself off to Covent Garden Theatre* where you will find The Great Grimaldi performing in Harlequin and Mother Goose; or the Golden Egg. It is exquisitely funny and will cure you of all your ills without any pills or potions from my cabinet.”

The man looks at the doctor for a moment.  “Ah,” he says. “That won’t help.”

“Why not, sir?”

The man shrugs. “I am Grimaldi.”

Grimaldi in 1819 by J.E.T. Robinson

Grimaldi in 1819 by J.E.T. Robinson

Apocryphal or no, I have little doubt the story’s origins go much further back. It would not surprise me if  it was first told in Ancient Greece about an actor performing in one of Aristotle’s comedies. It is a tale that has been attached to several comedians since, not least Dan Leno, whose depression was also legendary.

Joseph Grimaldi came from a line of Italian dancers and performers but was born and brought up in London. It is he we have to thank for the prominence of clowns in entertainment and for British pantomime existing in the form it does. A master craftsman when it came to performing in Commedia dell’Arte, an Italian style that became popular in the 16th century, Grimaldi’s antics in 19th century Harlequinades transformed the clowning to such an extent that the clown ended up replacing the character of Harlequin.

The It’s Behind You site says this about his performance in the doctor-recommended Harlequin and Mother Goose:

The lack of great theatrical scenes allowed Grimaldi to project himself to the fore ‘he shone with unimpeded brilliance’ once critic wrote. Another marveled at his performance ‘whether he robbed a pieman, opened an oyster, rode a giant carthorse, imitated a sweep, grasped a red-hot poker……. in all this he was extravagantly natural!’

Next time you go to a Christmas pantomime and sing along, think back to The Great Grimaldi for it was he whose comic songs were so popular that they became a permanent fixture in pantomime.  And if you’ve ever wondered why clowns are so often called Joey, think again of Grimaldi.

Grimaldi by John Cawse

Grimaldi by John Cawse

Andrew McConnell Stott, who has recently written a biography of Grimaldi — The Pantomime Life of Joseph Grimaldi: Laughter, Madness and the Story of Britain’s Greatest Comedian — writes:

The audience was in hysterics. Grimaldi had been their idol since he first came to prominence in 1806, having been thrust into the highest sphere of celebrity with a virtuoso comic performance in the original production of Mother Goose, a show that took record profits and ran for longer than any other pantomime in history. Its success brought him national recognition, enormous fees, and a social circle that included Lord Byron, Sarah Siddons, Edmund Kean, Matthew ‘Monk’ Lewis and the entire Kemble family. The critics Leigh Hunt and William Hazlitt sang his praises, the young Charles Dickens edited his Memoirs….”

Having retired in 1823 from ill-health and exhaustion — ‘I have overleaped myself’ — Grimaldi ran out of money in 1828, though he was  then helped by a yearly pension of £100 from the Drury Lane Theatrical Fund, and various benefit performances were staged to help him.  He spent his remaining years in great pain from a body that he had pushed to the limit.

When he died in 1837, The London Illustrated News despaired that audiences would ever look upon his like again. It’s Behind You quotes from the periodical:

Grimaldi is dead and hath left no peer… We fear with him the spirit of pantomime has disappeared.

Joseph Grimaldi's grave

Joseph Grimaldi’s grave

Joseph Grimaldi is buried in the courtyard of St James’s Chapel in Pentonville and is commemorated every year on the first Sunday in February at the Holy Trinity Church in Dalston, The Clowns’ Church, with the Joseph Grimaldi Memorial Service. Since 1967, clowns have been able to attend the service wearing their costumes.

*Now The Royal Opera House

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah

Related articles

Here is a last-minute plug for my favourite Christmas design, one that I created this time last year when I was laid up in bed waiting for that dratted hip replacement operation and needed a laugh.  Here it is on a coffee mug.  The mug is a little too big for a stocking filler but makes a good present for someone in your circle.  Mind you, you could always try using a very, very big sock and stuff the mug into the toe!  Then again…

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Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


There are No Small PartsOn the right is one of my latest designs, There are No Small Parts, which features a couple of characters taken from an original programme for the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Gondoliers at the Savoy Theatre in London in 1889. Accompanying the illustration is a classic theatrical saying: “There are no small parts, only small actors.”

Theatrical expressions are legion and, while many are merely superstitious, some of them, like this one, contain valuable nuggets of advice.  There are no small parts and while an actor may wish for a larger part to show off his or her talents, it is always worth remembering that with a small part one can give a performance that outshines all others on stage.  My late mother, actress and writer Benedicta Leigh, once played a maid in the West End in the 1950s and ‘stole all the notices’, even though the production had two or three stars in its cast!

Ballet and Theatre

This next image, Ballet and Theatre, is of unknown origin, which I bought from my colleague Mindy Sommers of  Vintage Art Download.  At a guess, it dates from the late 1910s or early 1920s and was possibly the cover of a ballet and theatre periodical.  It bears a stylistic resemblance to the posters and programmes for the Ballets Russes, including those illustrated by Leon Bakst.  Perhaps one of you may be able to shed some light on it.  The image is now available on all products at my gallery.  While it is categorized under Good Luck, the image would be suitable for any occasion.

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah

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