30 December 2012

Edwardian Rapunzels II

Friderica Derra De Moroda by Bassano, 1913 

Grace Sutherland - one of the "7 sisters with world's longest hair"

29 December 2012

23 December 2012

21 December 2012

Ghosts of Old London

From the collection of the Society for Photographing the Relics of Old London held in the archive at the Bishopsgate Institute.

two girls lurk in the yard behind this old house in the Palace Yard, Lambeth
A woman turns the corner into Wych Street

1883, Macclesfield Street - Can you see a man's face in the window?

A girl watches from a balcony while two boys stand in the shadow below - Oxford Arms

A man turns to look back in Drury Lane 1876

A man peers from the window of a chemists' at the corner of Lower James Street and Brewer Street

A lone policeman on duty in High Holborn, 1878

A porter puts down his basket in the street at the corner of Cheapside and Friday Street

15 December 2012

8 December 2012


Laverie Vallee (July 18, 1875 – February 6, 1949), best known by her stage name Charmion, was a Sacramento born trapeze artist who possessed strength and a physique most men would be envious of. 

However, she was most well known for her risqué striptease performances. The act opened with Charmion taking the stage in full Victorian attire. She would then mount the trapeze and proceed to undress to her leotard while performing impressive and strength-dependant stunts. The act was incredibly impressive and provocative for the era. However, the controversy created by her performances did not prevent the formulation of a devoted, and mostly male, fan base. 

One of her greatest fans was Thomas Edison. As a result of that adoration, on November 11, 1901 Charmion committed a simplified version of her act to film for Edison. The film, simply entitled ‘Trapeze Disrobing Act’ focused more on the erotic aspect of the performance, though a few remarkable feats of strength are featured.


2 December 2012

Cora Urquhart Brown-Potter

Cora Urquhart Brown-Potter (1857–1936), was one of the first American society women to become a stage actress.

Mary Cora Urquhart was born in 1857 at New Orleans, the eldest of three daughters and a son raised by David and Augusta (née Slocomb) Urquhart. Her father was a merchant and her mother the daughter of a hardware merchant. She married financier James Brown Potter in 1877 and they had a daughter, Anne, in 1879. They visited England in 1886 where they met the Prince of Wales and were subsequently invited to spend the weekend with him. 

James returned to the United States alone following the visit as Mary remained in England to pursue a career on stage. She made her stage debut in 1877 at the Theatre Royal in Brighton in the play "Civil War". Later that year she started a successful partnership with Harold Kyrle Bellew at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in the New York production of "Civil War". She and Harold toured the world and starred together for the next ten years. 

Despite the fact her husband divorced her in 1903 she continued to use her married name as her stage name. Her last appearance on the London stage was in 1912. She made a further stage appearance in 1919 for a benefit production in Guernsey. In addition to her stage career she helped to raise money for war charities during the Second Boer War. 

She died on February 12, 1936 at her villa in Beaulieu-sur-Mer not far from Monaco along the French Riviera. Shortly before her death Cora Urquhart Brown-Potter chose to become a French citizen.

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