CATHERINE FERGUSON AS MAD MARGARET IN “RUDDIGORE” : D’OYLY CARTE OPERA COMPANY

This vintage real photo postcard features actress and singer, Miss Catherine Ferguson ( 1895-1972). At first glance, this image appears to be a photograph of a pretty woman on a bad hair day. However, this is actually a photograph of Miss Ferguson playing the role of “Mad Margaret” in “Ruddigore”. The comic opera was also known as “The Witches Curse”. The production was presented by the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company and the music and libretto was written by Gilbert and Sullivan. It was first performed in 1887 for a run of 288 performances and was revived in 1920. During World War 1, interest in Gilbert and Sullivan was waning. The company’s main soubrette, Nellie Briarcliffe, left the company. In 1918, the company signed Miss Ferguson to replace Briarcliffe. Ferguson’s stage debut occurred in 1915, in “The Girl in the Taxi”. Ferguson took advantage of the opportunity at D’Oyly and she received much recognition and praise for her performances. In fact, it was thought that she had won the role of principal soubrette on a permanent basis rather than on an interim one. However, in 1919, Briarcliffe returned to the company and resumed her position as major soubrette while Ferguson was relegated to minor roles. Briarcliffe only stayed for one season, and upon her departure, Ferguson returned to being principal soubrette. She left the company in 1923 because of hearing loss. This photo postcard was published by Parkslee Pictures as part of a series (No. 36). This vintage postcard is in excellent condition (see scans). The Cabinet Card Gallery has another real photo postcard of an actress playing “Mad Margaret”. You can view it by placing the name, “Aileen Davies” in the search box.  

Buy this Vintage Real Photo Postcard (includes shipping within the US) #3553

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$25.50

Buy this Vintage Real Photo Postcard (includes International shipping outside the US) 3553

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$34.50

AILEEN DAVIES AS MAD MARGARET IN “RUDDIGORE” : D’OYLY CARTE OPERA COMPANY

This vintage real photo postcard features actress and singer, Miss Aileen Davies (1902-1981). At first glance, this image appears to be a photograph of a pretty woman on a bad hair day. However, this is actually a photograph of Miss Davies playing the role of “Mad Margaret” in “Ruddigore”. The comic opera was also known as “The Witches Curse”. The production was presented by the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company and the music and libretto was written by Gilbert and Sullivan. It was first performed in 1887 for a run of 288 performances and was revived in 1920. The “Gasbag” (2006) quotes a review of Miss Davies performance in a 1926 revival of “Ruddigore”. In regard to the actress, the reviewer admires “her prissy delivery and skittish style” and describes her “wonderful sexy lift ” into song. This photo postcard was published by Parksle Pictures as part of a series (No. 157). Davies is best known for her role in The Mikado (1926). The YouTube video below presents Beatrice Elburn, Elsie Griffin, and Aileen Davies, performing a song from “The Mikado”. This vintage postcard is in very good condition (see scans). SOLD

BRIDESMAIDS FOR RENT IN REDWING, CORNWELL, ENGLAND (GILBERT AND SULLIVAN, “RUDDIGORE”)

This vintage real photo postcard features twelve identically dressed bridesmaids standing in a row. These young women are not ordinary bridesmaids; they are professional bridesmaids. The women are professional bridesmaids. These professional bridal party stalwarts are for hire. This photo was taken in 1931 and the women resided in the fishing village of Redwing in Cornwell, England. In reality, the women in this photograph are actresses appearing as the bridesmaids chorus in the Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera, “Ruddigore”. The words “Sutton Coldfield” are written in pencil on the reverse of the postcard. Sutton Coldfield is a suburban town in Birmingham, England. Perhaps this is the venue where the comic opera appeared. A penciled inscription on the reverse of this postcard indicates that James Speight (1879-1977) is the photographer of this image. His father was the headmaster of a school in Rugby but later established a successful photography business. In 1897, at age 18, James went to work at H M Whitlock’s photography studio in West Bromwich. Speight’s interest in photography must have been in his genes. All 5 of his brothers became photographers. After working for a few more photographers, James decided to go to Paris for a few months, and once there, he worked for the celebrated photographer, Reutlinger. In his diary, James wrote that his retouching work for Reutlinger included making waists smaller. James returned to England and in around 1902, opened his Sutton Coldfield studio. He continued to operate the studio until he retired in 1950. This vintage postcard was published by K Ltd sometime between 1918 and 1936. This vintage postcard is in very good condition (see scans).

Buy this Vintage Real Photo Postcard (includes shipping within the US) #3200

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$38.50

Buy this Vintage Real Photo Postcard (includes International shipping outside the US) #3200

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$47.00