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