LYDIA FLOPP : BRITISH ACTRESS AND ONE OF THE FIVE “RUDGE SISTERS”

This vintage real photo postcard features theater actress Miss Lydia Flopp (1877-1963). “Flopp” is an unfortunate name for a stage performer. However, it did not get in the way of her success on the stage.  Lydia was one of the five “Rudge Sisters”. The women were British actresses and dancers. Some of them were quite successful. The sisters performed as Letty Lind, Millie Hylton, Adelaide Astor, Fanny Dango, and the aforementioned Lydia Flopp. The sisters were primarily dancers but over time developed their singing ability. They performed in pantomime, variety, music hall, and Victorian burlesque realms of theater. Their venues included the Gaiety and Daly theaters in London. Letty Lind was a popular skirt dancer and star of musical comedies. Hylton worked in music halls and theatre and had much success appearing in varieties as a male impersonator. Miss Astor was a West End actress and Fanny Dango worked in London and then launched a successful career performing in Australia. Lydia Flopp’s specialty was pantomime. She was a sitter for two photo portraits in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery. The photographer of Miss Flopp’s portrait is Alexander Bassano (1829-1913).  Bassano) was a leading royal and high society photographer in Victorian London. This postcard was published in England by the Davidson Brothers. Davidson Brothers was located in both London and New York City. The firm operated between 1901 and 1911. This postcard is published by Rotary Photo as part of the Rotary Photographic Series (no.1594 B). This vintage postcard portrait has excellent clarity and is in excellent condition (see scans).  (SOLD)

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AMELIA GLOVER: FAMOUS SKIRT DANCER (CABINET CARD PORTRAIT BY SARONY)

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This cabinet card portrait features celebrated skirt dancer Amelia Glover. The photograph was taken by the well known New York theatrical photographer, Napoleon Sarony. The term “skirt dancer” is not a term we read or hear about today so an explanation is likely in order. Skirt dancing earned its name due to the voluminous skirts worn by the dancers. These skirts were often made of sheer and flimsy material. The skirts were utilized as part of the dancers act. Famous skirt dancers include Glover, Loie Fuller, Papinta, and Anna Held. Amelia Glover was not just any skirt dancer. The Illustrated American (1892) published an article called “The Skirt and the Dance”. In the article the author bemoans the trend that resulted in French and English dancer’s skirts getting shorter and shorter. Most dancers prior to the trend wore long skirts (below the knee). Kate Vaughn is credited with the reintroduction of long skirts and the”skirt dance”. Letty Lind and Sylvia Grey are asserted to be responsible for importing the dance from England to the United States. The pair are said to have created a “rage” with the skirt dance. The author complains that the dance “has mostly degenerated into a lot of high kicking and can can impropriety”. He continues with the contention that the original dance has become “vulgarized”at the hands of “ordinary women” of the variety stage.The author goes on to state that there is one American skirt dancer who has “remarkable natural gifts”. He identifies that dancer as Amelia Glover, also known as “Little Fawn”. The cabinet card image below gives a view of  Glover dancing while wearing a long skirt. Besides being an incredible dance talent, Glover has another claim to fame. Theatre Magazine (1922) reports that Miss Glover started the fad of wearing bobbed hair. Her hairstyle was imitated by other women of the stage as well as by women of society.  SOLD

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