# 25465

[HAYDON, Ethel, 1876-1954]; ELLIS, Alfred (1854-1930) (photographer)

Two photographic portraits of Australian actress and singer Ethel Haydon (later Mrs. George Robey), taken in London, 1895 or 1896.

$150.00 AUD

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[London : s.n., 1895-96]. Two printing-out paper print photographs, each 150 x 105 mm, laid down on a late nineteenth century album page with owner’s identifying caption ‘Ethel Haydon’ in white ink; both prints are embossed ‘Alfred Ellis Photographer / Copyright; the three-quarter length portrait on the left is beautifully lit and shows off her mesmerising hooded eyes, while the full-length portrait on the right shows her in stage costume, possibly for her role as Bessie Brent in the opéra bouffe The Shop Girl, which played at London’s Gaiety Theatre during 1896 (this was Ethel’s second London appearance); the prints are in superb condition, and the mount is free from foxing.

Ethel Haydon was an Australian-born actress and singer who left Melbourne for London in 1895, at the age of nineteen. She met with great sucess on the London stage and married the famous English actor and writer George Robey in 1898.

The following article reporting on Miss Haydon’s third stage success in London appeared in The West Australian, 4 December 1896:

‘AN AUSTRALIAN ACTRESS. MISS ETHEL HAYDON. London, December 2. Miss Ethel Haydon, the well-known Australian actress, is announced to take the leading part in the musical burlesque “A Circus Girl,” which is about to be produced at the London Gaiety Theatre. Ethel Haydon, who is billed as “the pretty and attractive Australian actress,” has been first favourite at the London Gaiety as Beatrice, Lord Barnum’s sister in the “Shop Girl.” Miss Haydon, who left Australia for England about a year ago, was immediately engaged by Sir Henry Irving, but he released her from the contract in order to allow her to accept William Greet’s offer to create the role of Alice in “Dandy Dick Whittington” when that play was produced at the Avenue. Born in Melbourne of English parentage, Miss Ethel is now in her 20th year. While a school girl her inclinations towards music and the drama were quite marked, and she was in great request as an amateur. When financial disasters compelled her to earn her own living, she naturally turned her eyes towards the stage. Her first engagement was by Messrs. Williamson and Musgrove in “Sweet Lavender,” in which and other pieces she soon established a substantial reputation for comedy work. She next joined the Brough and Boucicault Company and then went to England, where after the lull came in the career of “Dandy Dick,” she was secured for Mr. George Edwardes for “The Shop Girl.”‘

The only images of Ethel Haydon found on Trove are postcards dated to around 1907, held in the National Library of Australia (David Elliott theatrical postcard collection).

‘Alfred Ellis was a photographer with a studio on Upper Baker Street, London, from 1884 until 1898. He was a member of the Photographic Society (later the Royal Photographic Society) from 1883, and was one of the original members of the Professional Photographers’ Association, acting at various times as Secretary, President and General Secretary. Ellis specialised in theatrical photography; he sometimes arranged for actual scenes from plays to be photographed at his studio. He later photographed stage performances at theatres themselves. Ellis took a leading interest in the issue of photographers’ copyright, fighting several actions in High Courts; he was also one of the founders of the Copyright Union’. (National Portrait Gallery)