[THEATRE] Photographic portraits of Ellen Terry, Minnie Walton, Kate Bishop and Constance Loseby
Circa 1875. Four woodburytype photographs, each carte de visite format (90 x 55 mm), mounted on a nineteenth century album page (315 x 235 mm), all strong prints with rich tonal range, the portrait of Ellen Terry (top left) with a small surface abrasion, the portrait of Minnie Walton (top right) with a hairline scratch to the right of her hat.
Four portraits of mid-Victorian actresses from a contemporary English theatre memorabilia collector's album. Clockwise from top left are the great Shakespearean actress Ellen Terry; the Australian actress and singer Minnie Walton (wife of impresario Frederick Lyster); Constance Loseby, and Kate Bishop. The reverse images of three of these portraits (Walton, Loseby and Bishop) are held in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London (NPG x135885), on a sheet published by the Figaro Office, St. Bride Street, London, dated to early 1875.
Minnie Walton died at an early age in San Francisco. The following is an extract from an obituary which appeared in The Era, London, 27 July 1879: 'The deceased was a native of Sydney, New South Wales, and first came before the public as a vocalist. While fulfilling her professional engagements in America Miss Minnie Walton became the wife of Mr Frederick Lyster, who was associated with his brother, Mr W. Sauren Lyster, in the management of an English opera company. When that organisation visited California in 1868 Mr and Mrs Fred. Lyster accompanied the troupe, and October 17th of that year Miss Minnie Walton – for the maiden name was always retained for professional purposes – made her first appearance as an actress as Eily O'Connor, in The Collen Bawn, at Maguire's Opera House, San Francisco. Her association with that company continued till the Californian Theatre was first opened, January 18th, 1869, when she transferred her services to that establishment, and there remained until the autumn of 1870. Her first appearance in New York was made at Wood's Museum, November 14th, 1870, when she was associated with the Lydia Thompson troupe, and played Venus, in Paris; or, the Apple of Discord. After a few weeks Miss Minnie Walton returned to San Francisco, and rejoined the California company, remaining with them till the autumn of 1873. Her reappearance in New York took place at Augustin Daly's Broadway Theatre, his Fifth-avenue Theatre, in Twenty-fourth-street, having been burnt down, and the new one, now known as “The Globe,” in Twenty-eighth-street, not being finished. Here in September, 1873, Miss Minnie Walton acted Violet in About Town, and afterward in Fritz, with Mr J.K. Emmet. On November 10th her services were transferred to the Grand Opera House, then under Mr Daly's management, her opening part being Rose in A Flash of Lightning. Joining Mr [Edward A.] Sothern in a professional tour through the States, she accompanied that actor on his return to England, and made her first appearance in England at the Haymarket, October 10th, 1874, as Mary Meredith in Our American Cousin. At the conclusion of her London engagement Miss Minnie Walton accompanied Mr Lyton Sothern to Australia, and, after performing in the Colonies for some time, returned to San Francisco, where her husband became the business Manager of Baldwin's Theatre. Though not an actress of the highest position, her face and figure always gave a charm to her stage assumption, and the death at an early age of one so fair to look upon will naturally create a feeling of deep regret among all who recognised in Minnie Walton their ideal of feminine loveliness.'