This cabinet card features English actress Ada Cavendish (1839-1895). She was noted for her performances in Shakespeare plays and for popularizing the plays of Wilkie Collins in America. Cavendish made her stage debut in 1863. She began her career doing musical burlesques. As she progressed professionally she played a number of heroine roles in the works of Shakespeare. There are many references to Cavendish in the theatrical literature of her era. Gentlemen’s Magazine and Historical Review (1872) provides the following description of Miss Cavendish. She looks like a lady and walks and dresses like one.Some of the clever actresses now on stage dress, walk,and talk like shop girls”. Celebrated photographer Napoleon Sarony produced this image. Cavendish may be dressed for a role in this portrait. Note her fancy clothing and “big” jewelry. To view other photographs by Sarony, click on the category “Photographer: Sarony”.


Published in: on February 27, 2014 at 11:53 am  Comments (1)  
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  1. I went to a fashion exhibit today, of 19th century wedding gowns. One featured a trim that resembles that on Ms. Cavendish’s bodice. It was swansdown – I didn’t approve, but it did look lovely.

    The way the sleeves attach to the dress makes it look a bit like a costume, and I’ve read that she did quite a few Shakespearean roles, so your deduction could very well be correct!

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