Sunday, April 21, 2024

STOCQUELER: what a family tale


You know what it's like when you are sure, quite quite sure, that you have done something ...

Fifteen or more years ago, I wrote the article that follows as part of my Victorian Vocalists project. I was convinced it had made the cut into the top hundred and been published in the book, but no.  Then I must have posted it one my blog? No. What the ... it was just sitting in my computer's brain, vegetating. Well, today, while searching for something else completely, I came across an excellent piece by one Audrey Carpenter, about Madame Joanna Sestini Stocquler ... great! A pre-quel to my story! Who was Ms Carpenter. 'Audrey T Carpenter graduated in English from Loughborough University in 1990. Since she found out that the opera singer Giovanna Sestini was a direct ancestor of hers, she has been researching her life and times'. Alas, I can't reach her. The Society for Theatre Research (tiens! does it still exist? They ignore me) and Gale seem to have published her work, internetted it, forbidden its reproduction, so I will just post the link to her article:

So if you paste her article onto mine ... hey, Audrey, there's a BOOK in this family. Oh, I see, you've published your part of the story already ...

Do tell me if you are descended from Fanny-chita!

FANCHITA, Mademoiselle [STOCQUELER, Fanny] (b Arundel St, London 1847; d unknown)


What do Miss Stocqueler, Broadway pantomime and burlesque girl; Miss Hayward of the Union Square Theatre and Boston Museum stock companies; Mlle Fanchita, star of opéra-bouffe at the London Alhambra; and Madame Francesca Barri, prima donna of the Royal Opera House, Madrid, have in common?  Yes, they are all – give or take the passing of time -- the same person.


Fanny Stocqueler came from a highly colourful family. Her father was Joachim (or Joaquin) Hayward Stocqueler (b Abchurch St, London 21 July 1801; d Washington, DC 14 March 1886), a personality – what would doubtless, nowadays, be called a ‘celebrity’ -- in the worlds of journalism, literature, theatre, and business, with a special slant towards things Indian and things of the armed forces. J H Stocqueler has been greatly written about (and the stories, of course, vary wildly), and has even made his way to the British Dictionary of National Biography, but attitudes to him seem to differ dramatically. In India, where he was undoubtedly influential as an editor and a journalist with English-language newspapers in the 1830s, he is spoken of with respect and admiration, and his books on the Orient and on matters of the army are quoted widely as being reference works of importance; but his career in Britain, whence he returned in 1843, is a very strange mixture of events and shades. He became a diorama lecturer, at Regent Street’s Gallery of Illustration (Illustrations of India, The Campaigns of Wellington, Diorama of the Overland Route) and at Willis’s Rooms, and he penned a little musical farce Polkamania for the English Opera House, and a vast spectacular on The Battle of Alma for Astley’s Theatre, as well as a continuing stream of books and articles on eastern, army and biographical subjects (Life and Scenes in British India etc). But he also ran an ‘army agency’ which seems to have been effectively a front for commission jobbing, and this led to his being accused of forgery and, in 1860, even mixed up in a murder. He promptly headed for America, to get his tuppenceworth out of the American Civil War, and established himself, once again, as a voluble personality. In 1873, he authored an autobiography, The Memoirs of a Journalist, and, in later life, he took to calling himself ‘Siddons’, having decided, rather tardily, that he was the illegitimate grandson of the famous actress, Sarah Siddons.

In fact, if he is to believed, he actually had another well-known theatrical forebear. His grandfather, Jose C[h]ristiano Stocqueler (d 7 April 1812), a Portuguese, apparently of German origins, is said to have eloped from Lisbon, in 1774, with the opera singer known as ‘Madame Sestini’. The pair settled in London where Jose became ‘many years one of the agents of the Royal Wine Company of Oporto’ and the lady, a well-liked soubrette soprano, appeared, for a good number of seasons, at the various opera houses. She is interred, alongside her husband (‘Knight of the Order of Christ in Portugal’), at the cemetery of St Pancras: ‘Mrs Joanna Stocqueler, died 14 July 1814, aged 66 years.’ Joanna?


Jose’s (and Joanna’s?) son, Joachim Christian (d July 1813), more prosaically, an insurance agent of Abchurch Lane, married Elizabeth, daughter of the fashionable doctor Francis Hayward (‘of Warrington’ later ‘of Bath’) (2 October 1800), and, of them, was born the multicoloured John Hayward Stocqueler. The book Bygone Days in India recounts his early life, of which, suffice it to say, he wed in India (Jane Spencer, 4 February 1828 Bombay), produced a son Edwin Roper (b 7 November 1829), who went on to make the Australian reference books as a goldfields artist, but separated from them, returned to England and, instead, in 1844, married (bigamously?) Mrs Eliza Wilson Pepper. Amongst the surviving children of that marriage was – yes, we have got to her at last – Fanny, born 1847.

I spot the family in the 1851 census at Pelham Cottage, Pelham Terrace, Kensington: Joachim 49, editor of a newspaper and public lecturer, Eliza aged 26, daughter, Fanny 4 and son, Edgar [Hayward Stocqueler] 2.


Miss Fanny Stocqueler went on the stage for the first time during the family’s time in America. I see her in 1866 (18 June) at the Olympic Theatre playing Poo-tee-pet in Po-ca-hon-tas alongside Brougham and Emilie Melville, and the following year playing five different characters (with a song by one Signor Tamaro) in the spectacular The Devil’s Auction at Banvard’s Museum. In 1868 I see it reported that ‘Miss Fanny Stocqueler is a favourite in Montreal’ in the ‘operatic role of Idex [in Undine]’, and that ‘Miss Lizzie Cooper and Miss Fanny Stocqueler, two excellent actresses’ are playing the Norombega Hall, Bangor, Maine in The Lady of Lyons and The Englishman in India


And then, suddenly, Miss Stocqueler metamorphoses in to ‘Miss Fanny Hayward’. Why?  Was she trying to upmarket? In 1872-3 she is at the Union Square Theatre, playing in Sardou’s Agnes, The Two Roses, Orange Blossoms et al, but when she moves to Augustin Daly’s company at the Grand Opera House, she plays not only Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but also principal boy in the G H Fox pantomime Humpty Dumpty Abroad. I spot her in February 1873 playing Leoda in Clari and Christine in Love in Humble Life at Brooklyn. In 1874, she was a member of the stock company at the Boston Museum, and then it was time for another change. ‘Miss Fanny Hayward’ was retired, and on 13 September 1875 ‘Mlle Fanchita’ made ‘her first appearance in England’ at London’s Globe Theatre, playing the role of Fiorella in Francis Fairlie’s production of what pretended to be Offenbach’s Les Brigands, alongside Camille Dubois and J A Shaw. And, in the role of the brigand chief himself, was a singing-songwriting Irishman by name of Slater, who also fancied himself under a funny name, and insisted he was ‘Signor Odoardo Barri’ ('he appears not to be in his element delineating a character'). La Fanchita did better: 'Her singing is really good, her voice of excellent quality, and her acting has all the dash and spirit wanted in opéra-bouffe' (Era).


Mlle Fanchita went from the Globe to the Queen’s Theatre, to take part in what was to be a spectacular version of the favourite pantomime The White Cat: unfortunately, the only thing spectacular about it was the scope of its disaster. But then things looked up. During the run, Mlle Fanchita (who signed the register ‘Fanny Hayward’) and Signor Barri (who allowed ‘Edward Barri’) were married. And then, in February 1876, the lady was taken on at the Alhambra to play, opposite original star Rose Bell, the role of Haydée, created by Kate Santley, in the operatic extravaganza Don Juan. ‘[Mlle Fanchita], in a pretty song called ‘Waiting’, fair took the audience by storm … she plays with remarkable vivacity’.

However, the Alhambra engagement was a one off, and in the following years ‘Madame Fanchita Barri’ was seen but episodically in concert – the Royal Aquarium, the Glasgow Saturdays, the Brighton Aquarium, Willis’s Rooms (25 June 1876, their own concert), Rivière’s Proms, in a concert party (billed as ‘of the New York Academy’) with the tenor Urio and Miss Jessie Bond, depping for Alwina Valleria at Georg Jacobi’s concert (‘une jolie voix de mezzo-soprane’ in The Jewel Song and ‘O luce di’), at the concerts of Augustus Tamplin and Carl Bohrer, the Yarmouth Aquarium or the Marble Club proms, the Scarborough Aquarium  – as well as in pantomime. Her performance in Sinbad at the Manchester Prince’s ('a graceful and pleasing actress, and sings with great taste') gave a new meaning to the word 'knockout'. A masked chorister, carrying a ladder, whacked the star on the head and she had to be carried off.

In July 1879 she returned to the London stage. Mrs Wentworth Sturgeon (‘May Bulmer’) went into management to star herself in a version of Bazin’s A Cruise to China at the Garrick Theatre, and amongst her cast was billed … Miss Fannie Hayward! Briefly.


But there was yet more to come. After a period of semi-invisibility (some of it seemingly spent at the Teatro Reale, Madrid, and at Burgos), in January 1881, a large advertisement appeared in the British music press. Madame Francesca Barri, it claimed, had been singing Filina to the Mignon of Christine Nilsson and Siebel to the star’s Marguerite and the Faust of Gayarre. She had sung Leonora and Marguerite with Tamberlik, and was currently appearing at the Teatro Italiano, Coruna, Spain. Britain would soon have a chance to judge this latest transformation for itself, for, in October 1881, Samuel Hayes ventured a season of opera at the Lyceum and ‘Madame Francesca Barri from the Grand Opera, Madrid’ was billed. By 9 October, when she made her debut, it was already clear that Mr Hayes’s casts were distinctly lacking in depth. And Mme Barri was at the bottom end. She appeared in Il Trovatore with Frapolli, d’Antoni and Mlle Le Brun and The Times commented 'from indisposition or nervousness [she] seemed unable to control the remnants of what at one time may have been a sonorous soprano'. The season collapsed, and the Slater-Barris sued Mr Hayes for compensation. 

On 5 July I spot Fanny on the programme of Messrs Lansmere and Betjemann’s concert at Neumayer Hall. ‘Madame Francesca Barri was greatly applauded in the Jewel Song from Faust which she gave with no little power and fluency. Indeed, it would have been as well if the lady had restrained herself more, as the effect of the Jewel Song depends more on fluent vocalisation and taste than upon vocal powers.’ Restraint doesn’t seem to have been one of Mme Barri’s notable qualities. On 18 July 1882 on the occasion of a concert given by the pianist Mons de Nevers, the two Barris sang, along with Mlle Desvigne. And then I lose Madame Barri. I don’t lose him, just her.


Unless she is (and she surely must be) the Francesca Barri singing in II Guarany at the Teatro Manzoni, Pistoia in 1883-4 … ? and at the Teatro Ristori, Verona as Maria d'Alvarez (mezzo-soprano) in Ferrucio Ferrari’s Fernanda alongside tenor Papeschi, baritone de Bernis and prima donna Elise Bassi. 'Infelice .... senza colorire, senza accentuare, e con una disinvoltura molto discutibile'. And, heavens, there’s more! There she is at Carnevale at Ragusa singing Leonora in Il Trovatore and this time she is liked:‘valente artista che riunisce le piu belle qualità: eleganza, voce, studio e senso drammatico’. Wow! In January 1886 its Amelia in Un ballo in maschera then in July, Piacenza as ... Norma!. May Tifft from King's, New York gave her Lucia. But Fanny (13 years older than Miss Tifft) broke her contract ('un vero peccato') and left Piacenza ... and that’s my last sighting of either of them.


‘Odoardo’ would have a long existence in the musical world as a singing teacher and songwriter, finally finding a sort of fame when – years after its first appearance – his song ‘Boys of the Old Brigade’ caught on and became a popular success.

He also re-married, in 1900, the thirty-years-younger Mary Kate Stainer, vocally known as 'Madame Maud Santley' (b Ryde 4 January 1873; d Ryde 7 July 1952), so I imagine that means that Fanny was, in one way or another, gone. But of that going, I have found no trace.

I have followed Miss/Mrs Fanny Stocqueler-Slater though each of her series of metamorphoses, but on the last one she has beaten me.


The name of Stocqueler is an infrequent one, and I suspect that the small band of such-named folk who inhabited the London of the turn of the 18th century were all related in some way to the original Jose and his Joanna.

So, it is interesting to note the Miss or Mrs Stocqueler singing in the Italian opera chorus in 1834. Also, the Mrs Elizabeth Stocqueler (née Thomas), widow of Peter of that name, who re-married the cough-mixture man Stewart Cundell, in 1817, and became the mother of not one but two international prime donne of real value: Helen Cundell-Greiffenhagen and Elizabeth Danterny.


One last family note. The Hayward family threw up one more celebrity, but not in the theatre – although he has been portrayed therein. Elizabeth Hayward’s brother, Thomas, was the midshipman on the HMS Bounty, on that much-publicised voyage during which Mr Christian led the mutiny against Captain Bligh. 

Saturday, April 20, 2024


We are all used to vendors posting things -- specifically photos -- on e-bay which are labelled falsely. Sometimes its as little as a misspelling or a mistranslation, faulty decipherment or a flagrant guess from a feeble pencil inscription ..

Sometimes its rather more than that.

Do folk actually buy photos with names declared by the vendor and no proof of the identification? I wouldn't.

Do folk buy a photo of 'famous actor, unnamed'? Really, then how do you know he is 'famous'.

Are we expected to take for truth a recognisable musical comedy lass labelled as 'opera singer'? Or a performer who never sang a note in his/her life, given the same description.

A gentle example to hand: "beautiful opera singer Silvano with mandoline". 

Yet the photo is labelled clearly "Silvano in Prince Pro Tem".  Prince Pro Tem was an R A Barnet musical which was produced at Taunton, Mass 1 September 1893, which played the Boston Museum first in 1893 (11 September, apparently for 167 performances), and toured for the next two seasons. It was revised and revived in 1899 and hung around in local productions till the mid 1900s.  The piece was described as a 'comic opera' by it authors, Lewis Sabin Thompson et al: when I tell you the songs included a blackface coon song 

And a topical song about the 'New York Policeman', another about 'Tommy Tomkins' ...

you will see that the term 'comic opera' in those times meant little more than a playlet with songs! The authors quickly retrenched and described their piece as a 'musical fantasy'.

I can't find a program to discover who played the little role of Silvano (yes, he's a character not a performer) but I see the touring company included Annie Lewis, Fanny Johnstone, Josie Sadler as Wild Rosie of Yucatan, and Fred Lennox (Tommy Tomkins) with Alice Shepard Rosalind Rissi, Mabel Stanley ..   By January 1895 the supporting role of Silvano was being played by Miss Ellis L Ingalls. In 1900 it was Marjorie Winburn. It didn't really matter, because Silvano only sang in one sextette ('A Nice young man') ... Lennox and Miss Sadler ("If I could only get a decent sleep') were the stars.  Lewis Strang recorded that it 'never had a decent run out of Boston'.

Josie Sadler as Ruby

PS found, the original Boston cast included Lennox and Miss Sadler, Miss Rissie, Florrie West, a Miss Kenyon-Bishop from Dayton as the Princess replaced by Jenny Corea ... and the heavily-advertised Olea Bull ('daughter of..' as principal dancer). But still no precise identification!

Here's another. This one is labelled 'Circus Acrobat Francis J Gorsche San Jose signed rare'.

Well, there are those who would have considered that Francis Jerome Gorsche belonged in a circus, but he was actually a rather inept fellow who inherited some $200,000 and decided he knew how to deal in real estate on the Western Coast. And who clearly had fantasies ..

His father was Johan/John S Gorsche, born in Laibach (Ljubljana), Austria circa 1814 who died in 1891. He was of ample but undisclosed means. His wife was the Ohio-born  Katharine Hul(c)zer. Now, the elders seem to have had four or five sons one of whom -- possibly the eldest -- born, it seems, Francis John (17 August 1856) was a little ummm ....

Anyhow he becomes a Man when, his brothers having died, then his mother, in 1896, he inherited the lot.  Beautifed by his bounty, he was promptly, it seems, seduced by a young lady named Marie Knecht whom he married 4 June 1897. Then he sobered up, dumped her in Paris and fled back home. 

The report in the press said he was 'of limited intelligence' especially when befuddled by drink. Looking at this photo, I can believe that.

Looking at the signature I can believe that. And yes, its the same signature as the on his passport application.

And there began a series of unfortunate deals in real estate, a number of court appearances ... I see him in 1910 being sued (for the second time) by his housekeeper-cousin and by a 'friend', maybe all after a bit of the cake ... while he seems to have been prone to a a bit of rather inept fiddling himself ...   Well, in the end there wasn't any cake it seems ...

Then, in 1911, he got himself into the papers yet again by announcing that he was enrolling at University. He was, he said, of English birth and 40 years old. He had been eight times round the world, fought lions and tigers in India and Africa, cohorted with the apaches in Paris ...  ahha! That's where the fantasy for this picture come from. Mr Gorsche is into whips and chains ...

I see he was still dabbling in real estate in the 1920s ... I wonder if he had actually managed to make something of his $200,000. Or how much of it was left ...

But he was never a circus acrobat.

If I had to sort those two out, other goodies recently have included some grand photos. A beautiful photo of British soprano Catherine LEWIS in The Royal Middy (unfortunately labelled 'Lillian Lewis')

And here's one that really would be rare

I don't know where that 'Colie' came from, but 'Flavia' is real.  Flavia Louise BLANDY (b Buffalo 1865; d Albany 10 June 1891) had only a few years on the stage at the head of a little company named for her, touring Rhose Island and beyond. She married (10 April 1889) her comedian Robert A DUMARY, gave birth to a daughter, and died thereafter. There can't be too many photos of her about.

I particuarly liked this one. It's a scene from Henry Arthur Jones's megahit melodrama The Silver King (1882) featuring Osmond Tearle, Rose Coghlan and John Gilbert, labelled and left to speak for itself. 

Here's another beauty. A very, very frustrating beauty. Her name is or was or pretended to be Rose BE[H]REND, and she has so far beaten not only me, but the whole world of Gilbert and Sullivan scholarship. For Rose by any other name was a member of the cast of the much-much-discussed Thespis. And she was said to have fabulous legs. 

According to her, she was born in Birmingham circa 1846, and Berend was her married (and swiftly widowed) name. Well, she was 'Rose Berend' when she appeared in 1868 at the Pavilion Theatre as Emily Harewood in The Little Ragamuffin and in King John. She skipped to the Haymarket to play in Cymbeline, to Woolwich (The Waterman) and the Royal Artillery's Concerts (Victorine in The Seven Clerks) and then to the Globe where she took part (I've given my programme away!) in the very successful Cyril's Success, and then in Brown and the Brahmins, whence comes this photo ...

Yes, the legs look nicely ... ?padded?

She followed up as Clementina Ponticopp in Robertsons A Breach of Promise, as Mme de Maynard in a Corsican Brothers burlesque, Lady Ethel Linden in Blow for Blow, Felicia Craven in Not Such a Fool as He Looks, before a brief stop at Holborn (The Chamber of Horrors) and then on to the Amphitheatre at Liverpool (Lavinia in The Odds, Gonzalo in The Tempest and especially Rosa Dartle in Little Em'ly). And got censussed.
The last named part brought her considerale notice, and she was swiftly back to the heart of things, featuring as the Price (the legs!) to Nellie Farren's Giselle at the Olympic, and moving briskly on to join the company at the Gaiety Theatre (1 November 1871). She played in Love for LLove, Elfie, went on tour with Toole playing the burlesque Robert the Devil and Ganymede and Galatea with Farren and Connie Loseby. Some cast. Back in town she was cast as Pretteia in Thespis ('wears so lovely a dress that is difficult to determine which most to admire, that, or wearer').

She joined Joseph Eldred's company for a bit, returned to the Opera Comique (Hit and Miss, The Chimney Corner, The Post Boy. The Bohemians, Nicholas Flam, Love in a Fix, Mars in the revived Ixion Re-wheeled, War to the Knife) and then I lose her.

For four years I lose her. Illness, marriage .... who knows.

But she returned. I see her in 1879 at Brighton andNottingham, at the Olypmic in School for Scandal and then at the Alhambra as Queen Orangehue then 'a magnificent Queen Camellia' in the remade Black Crook (1881) and as Melusine in the new Babil and Bijou (with a Matilda Behrens as chorine!)..  and then, under whatever name, for whatever reason, age 35, gone.

OK. I have exhumed the reality of several like ladies. But I'm not sanguine about this one. Someone else have a go!

There are some lovely pix, of course, that have no name, or an indecipherable one, that have sat on my desk all week, but it is time to clear them off in the hope that someoone just may be able to identify them ,,,

We've tried and tried on the last name!

Cocktail time. It's been a fun day!


Thursday, April 18, 2024

A lovely Lincolnshire photo ... life in the 18-19th century.

Charles Rivers came up with a darling photo today.  Three gentlemen from West End, Burgh Le Marsh, near Skegness, photographed in 1867, when the total of their ages equalled 283 years...

I assume they are as billed, left to right ...

Mr Lee died before the year was out, and Mr Andrew(s) the next, but the eldest of the trio, Edward HOUGHTON soldiered on another five years, and passed along only aged 103.

Who were they? 

Edward HOUGHTON was from Hogsthorpe (c 1770), then Skegness where his son, William was born. He was a farmer and agricultural labourer, and not -- as the family historians insist, an Esq from Liverpool with lots of glamorous children. I think William was, perhaps, the only child from Edward's first wife, Sarah née Carrington (1793). I see that by 1851 he was the farmer and maybe the owner of 53 acres in Burgh. In 1836 he married for a second time, the much younger Elizabeth Green, but he was to outlive her, as well. He died 31 January 1872.

William carried on labouring agriculturally, fathered a son who he named Richard (1830-1901), and lost his wife, Mary née Teesdale in 1878. He and the son lived alongside of father, and I see in 1869 him selling some land in Bratoft. Possibly to bail out Richard who seems to have been rather a useless kind of fellow, had up several times for theft. I think 1869 was one of those times, when he got two years. 

In 1862 said Richard had got into debt, and had named William and Thomas Houghton of Skegness as his assignees. Thomas (19 March 1810-23 March 1887), cottager and coal merchant, may have been an uncle ...

The Houghtons, under various spellings, seem to have spread around the villages of Eastern Essex ... I keep finding odd mentions .. 'cousins', 'nieces' ..  who is Eliza Veal (?)

On to the next. Thomas ANDREW(S) was born in Partney, Lincs. There are too many TA's to know which is he, but by 1841 he was farming in Wrawby, by 1861 he was living in West End with a lady housekeeper ... Apparently he was by John Andrews out of Ann Stone, and married Letitia Richardson ... His will was executed by one Young Veall, husband of Mary née Andrews, so I guess there was family around to push his wheelchair. He died 12 June 1868.

John LEE 'cottager' (West End Burgh must have been all cottages) came from the village of Mumby, Lincs. He married an Ann Marie Baker in 1808, had four surviving children, and I guess it is he who is at one stage of Hogenthorpe. I see him in 1851 with a daughter and two grandsons ... one of them is a Doughty and living next door to him is Mary Doughty with her husband ... ex-Miss Lee, I suspect.

Seems as though we should all move to Skegness for a long life!

And look! A couple more photos from Burgh ...

Henry lived in the High Street, with his widowed mother Charlotte, her three daughters, one's husband, three servants and were in the coal merchanting business. Well, Henry seemingly dropped out before the 1871 census. 'Aged 26'. In April 1881 he is an engine driver in Blyton .. is it he an 'excavator' in 1871 ...?  in 1851 John Grantham (father) and Charlotte with a heap of family and 4 servants are living at Burgh House ... Father was a mill owner and corn miller, mother had 'houses, lands and an annuity' and Henry too is listed as a corn miller ... 

I think Henry may have had a secret. But I don't think I would have liked to be around when he (if it were he) was driving and engine.

Weirder still ..

So who took, and who kept, his photo ...

Little Tom (5ft 3") was born in Osgodby around 1803 the son of another Thomas and his wife Mary. In 1841 he was a 'agricultural labourer' at Wainflee. In 1850 he was jjailed for being 'idle and disorderly', in 1856 he was imprisoned for 6 months as 'an incorrigible rogue'. It was at least his second dose of six with hard labour in the past year. He admitted to 'odd jobs' while sleeping in someone's barn, and having been a 'cook' at some stage.

Well, I never knew anything of Burgh le Marsh, or any other of the myriad surrounding villages, until today. Maybe Charles Rivers has some more treasures from the same source ...


There they all are. From Mumby to Wainfleet. Burgh, Skegness, Hogsthorpe, Thorpe, Bratoft, Willoughby, Partney ... 

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Purposefully smutty: the Barrison sisters


Everyone nowadays knows the opening to the stage musical of 42nd Street. The slowly rising curtain and the tapping feet.


Er ... not by a huge chunk of a century ...

In the 1890s a quintette of girls billed as 'the Barrison sisters' introduced the same or similar effect in their act.  Not tap, I think, but the curtain going gradually up and showing their legs ... bit by saucy bit ...

Here they are ...

And this is their no1 known as Lona Barrison

Apparently the others included and Inger and a Gertrude and an Olga and an Ethel and a Sophie, and Lona was married to a chap named Mons William Fleron. ... 

Anyway, they were said to have been born in Copenhagen, they'd been on the stage (or the act had) since they were 'diminutive' (and only four) and therafter they made a feature of their 'wickedness'. It was even announced that Lona had been banned from the German states because of her 'wickedness'. In 1902 a 'Marie Barrison' was announced as the 'one oif the original and last of the Barrison sisters'.

And then when Mabel Barrison came on the scene she was said to have been one of the Barrison sisters.

Well, I see Lona travelling in Europe in the later 'nineties while in America others were doing what professed to be burlesques of their act (they'd have called it a 'tribute' these days). There were, of course, the regulation number of aristocratic officers who committed suicide over one or another of them, and the regulation set of newspapers sued for 'libelling' them ..

The act was reported as having been disbanded in 1897 in Brussels. Three of the girls went back to Kallenborg and mother, Lona and Sophie (or was it Gertrude?) carried on. And another group surfaced calling themselves 'the Barrison sisters'.

In Germany, in 1908, one of the 'original five'; was killed in a motor car smash in Bavaria ... with, of course, her wealthy lover ...

So .. I find this ... taken from a 2020 (!) biography 

"Lona (Abelone Maria, 1871–1939), Olga (Hansine Johanne, 1875–1908), Sophia (Sofie Kathrine Theodora, 1877–1906), Inger (Inger Marie, 1878–1918), and Gertrude (Gertrud Marie, 1881–1946) Barrison were actual sisters (many "sister" vaudeville acts were not) of Danish-German descent. The five sisters were all born in Copenhagen, Denmark. Along with their mother, the sisters emigrated to the United States in 1886, joining their father, who had earlier made the same journey. 

Lona Barrison, the oldest of the sisters, had a fleeting theatre experience in Copenhagen as a young girl, and it was she who initially gravitated towards the theatre scene after the family settled in Manhattan, New York City. Later on, she was joined by her siblings. Originally called Bareisen, they anglicized their surname, thus becoming the Barrison Sisters. The five blond and curly-haired siblings were said to sing in high squeaky voices and dance with middling ability. They achieved notoriety, however, by ingenious use of double entendres on stage.

Actress Pearl Eytinge initially produced them and wrote a comedietta for them called Mr Cupid. Her manager, Danish-born William (Wilhelm Ludvig) Fleron (1858–1935), took over the management of the sisters and married Lona in 1893."

Well, I guess they know more than I do! And I guess it was Olga who died in the accident. 

They seems to have been fat, dyed blonde, with little squeaky voices .. and a fund of dirty jokes.  And for that you commit suicide?  I think not,

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Juteau: tenor, baritone and comic through 45 years.

I added this as a PS to my Fille de Madame Angot blog. But here it is for those who don't want to read that whole piece again

This is Emile Eugène PINARD dit JUTEAU (b 4 December 1834) as Ange Pitou in the American production of Angot. He and his wife, Perrette née ROLAND, went out to America with Marie Aimée's company which introduced the work to (French-speaking) America in 1872. It was a huge success, and in the shadow of Aimée, Juteau was considered more than adequate. The company played the whole repertoire of opéra-bouffe, and Juteau appeared as Fritz, Barbe-bleue, Falsacappa, Céladon (Cent Vierges), Paris et al during the two years they remained in America.

This card was signed while the company fulfilled a season at New York's Broadway Theatre.

Juteau was, as was the way in the USA of the 1870s, presented surrounded by ficticiously glamourising claims ('principal tenor at the Bouffes-Parisiens'). In fact, at nearly forty years of age, his busy and appreciated career in Europe had been limited to the provinces. With the help of Lyonnet's not often fallible dictionary, I have the following break-down (to be filled out).

1863 Lille (2ème ténor)

1864-5 Bordeaux

1867-71 Gymnase, Marseille: Piquillo (Périchole) ('un chanteur agréable'). Perrette got her costume on fire in L'Oeil crevé

1870-1 Galeries St Hubert, Brussels Les Hannetons, La Mer 

1872 (till August) Meynardier's co with Matz-Ferrare in Europe: Milan, Vienna Grande-Duchesse, Voyage en Chine, Petit Faust, Barbe-bleue, Les TurcsPérichole, Geneviève de Brabant (as Sifroy)

(New York)

more Marseille

1875-80 St Petersburg, Théâtre Michel

1876 Perpignan

1876 Brussels 

1881-2 Yassy

1883 Arcachon, Montauban et al

1883 Brussels Fille de Madame Angot with Luigini and Geoffroy

1883-6 Sommertheater, St Petersburg La Petite Mariée

1887 Rouen ('trial')

1889-91 Anvers Mam'zelle Nitouche, Manon

1891 London, Covent Garden  Guillot in Manon 'from the theatre de la Monnaie'

1892 Lyon

1894-5 Toulouse ('trial')

!! Paris 1896

1897-8 Toulouse

It is clear that while Juteau was no Dupuis, he was an extremely useful baritenor in all styles. And for a very long time. Oh, Madame (who also played as Mlle Roland), was, I feel, really little more than a chorine and when trying anything higher did not seem to please. I think I spot her once essaying Marguerite!

Lyonnet tells us that Juteau was still alive in 1907, living in Sucy en Brie ...

'Pinard', by the way, would not have been a nice name for a tenor. It is French for 'plonk' as in wine!

 Noted: father Jules Juteau and Mons Rolland were both members of the company playing in London in 1860.


Monday, April 8, 2024

Mr Pavitt: a musical homosexual in Victorian England ...


Quiet day today. Autumnal. Just felt like doing nothing. Too cold and breezy to go out in the garden. Wendy and Pat went off to buy nature cures and bacon bones and, of course, cat food and I promptly thought ...

I looked at my desktop. Bit of a tidy? What are these bits that I've downloaded from time to time ... why have I kept an Arthur Lloyd music sheet? He's been thoroughly researched and has his own website ...

Open the cover. Ah, that's why. 

Who, pray, was C J Pavitt? Well, I found out, and he linked up with another story I'd looked into some years ago ...

Charles John PAVITT (b Clavering, Essex 1843 x 17 October; d Barnstaple 2 June 1917) was a son of James Pavitt, grocer, wine-merchant and corn-miller, and his wife Emma née Spencer; and a grandson of James the elder the proprietor of Clavering Mill. I think father may have been amateurly musical or 'theatrical', for as early as 1864, I see his three sons William Spencer (1839), George Hawkes (1841) and Charles James (1843) appearing in concerts in Chelmsford. Charles played the harmonium, a piano selection from Faust and sang 'The Bashful Man'.

The family removed from Clavering to Battles Bridge Mill, and Charles in particular was seen in local concerts. I see him singing 'Tom the Tinker' and 'Skying the Copper' to huis own accompaniment, recited 'The Song of the Shirt', while father lectured on 'The Education of Girls' et al at the National School in Rayleigh. The brothers played in amateur dramatics and, there (I presume), Charles met one Ernest Boulton. And a bell rang in my brain.

Mr Ernest Boulton was, to put it politely, a transvestite and a lady of the town. He became celebrated, to put it politely, a couple of years later when, dressed to the nines, for he was not poor, he was arrested for soliciting from a theatre box ... it is a long story, semi-fictionalised in a book Fanny and Stella by Neil McKenna. I gave my copy away, so I can't look to see if Charles Pavitt makes an appearance. Anyway, there seems little doubt that 'Stella' was for a while the concubine of our Mr Pavitt.

Before the duo split, they had appeared around Essex in playlets and recitations where Boulton raised admiration for his female impersonation (My New Housekeeper), and Pavitt for his comic monologues ('Jeddiah and his Peggy'. 'Lady Clara Vere de Vere', 'An Evening Party at Mrs Molloy's') alongside father and brothers. Charles wrote 'an opera in 5 minutes' The Power of Gold for Stella to perform. 

In the wake of the luscious scandal, Charles evidently found it advisable to change locality, and in 1872 he turns up in London, doing his ventriloquism and comic song/monologue at the Metropolitan Music Hall ('Spooning at the bar') under the name of 'H Verne'. And he found himself a new partner in one Edward Bevan Burland otherwise 'Ernest Bruce'. I see them at Weston super Mare in August 1871, while poor Stella was having her rectum investigated by a team of police doctors for evidence of wrong-way traffic, playing excerpts from Sheridan. It was 'Bruce' who played Lady Teazle and Mrs Malaprop.

The pair worked provincial halls and institutes with their tidy little act for a decade and more, while Charles turned out regular ventriloqual sketches and ditties of which Our Amateur Concert (in which he represented all the participants) seems to have been the most popular. In 1885, however, Charles turned up at the Egyptian Hall, supporting Maskelyne and Cooke in their famous show. I think Edward may have been ill. They went to the country, and then to Dublin ... and then Edward died (10 September 1887), short of his 50th birthday. My last sighting of him is at Fred de Lara's concert, impersonating 'Mrs Turtledove' in May of that year

Charles returned to Maskelyne and Cooke, played his act solo here and there (comic operetta Home Rule, patriotic song 'No Fear') and in 1905 he went on a holiday to Ilfracombe. I don't know whether he went to Ilfracombe because John Thomas White, musicseller, lived there, but White seems to have been his last love (and heir) and he gave Charles the biggest song success of his career when he published his seaside song 'Clovelly'. 

An attempt to repeat the success was not as successful

Charles stayed in Devon, and died in Barnstaple during the Great War, aged 73. 

He had had a modest career as an entertainer, penned some songs and sketches, and stayed clear of the trouble into which his more exhibitory friends had got. I hope he was happy.

Oh, here's the rest of his song which got me into this. Maybe a Gay Museum will snap it up off ebay ...

Footnote. A friendly Barnstaple journo (one of the boys?) gave him an obituary of a most exaggerated kind:'30 years with Maskelyne and Cooke' but I will copy it here anyway with a pinch of pepper ..

Much-travelled? He left £312 9s 4d. Wouldn't get you from John o'Groats to Land's End these days. Now to track down some more of his music!

Come on my fellow furrowers ... help!

Here's one from .. always a good place to start!

The (apparently late)  John Parsloe has investigated Edward at  Yes, John, he was as gay as a gilliflower ...

And here's Mr McKenna's book

Next day: the Wizard Allister Hardiman has come up with this super photo of Pavitt and Stella, performing their act in Essex in 1869 ...

Some more photos of the boys in their amateur dramatics. 

One of the gents is Sir Arthur Cecil (who is a whole other story). I assume the croquet girls are others of the coven.

Saturday, April 6, 2024

The Lamys of the Théâtre des Célestins, Lyon


Charles Lamy was a long-lived feature of the French musical theatre, as juvenile lead, as little comic and, latterly in a whole panoply of singing character roles. I wrote about him in my Encyclopaedia of the Musical Theatre, with mention of his brother and his son ... as follows ...

LAMY, Charles [CASTARÈDE, Charles Désiré] (b Lyon, 28 August 1857; d Orléans 15 June 1940).

 The son of Adrien [Étienne Constant] Castarède, the director of Lyon's celebrated Théâtre des Célestins, and the foremost of a family of light-tenor vocalists of charm (his brother Maurice and his son Adrien followed the same path), Charles Lamy had a 40-year career in the musical theatre, at first as a sweet-voiced tenor juvenile, and later as a full-blooded comedy player of some finesse. After beginning his career in the theatre as an orchestral violinist at the Théâtre de Saint-Étienne, he made his first stage appearances at the same house, but he began his lyric career in earnest, after some studies at his local conservatoire, playing opérette in Marseille (1876-7), touring in Italy (1877-8) and playing at the Galeries Saint-Hubert in Brussels (1879) before he was engaged at the Paris Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens in 1880.

 His first rôle at the Bouffes was probably his most memorable of all for, in December 1880, he created the high tenorino-cum-comedy part of the Prince Fritellini in Audran's La Mascotte (`Le Je ne sais quoi poétique'), but there were plenty of other fine parts to follow. Prince Olivier in Audran's next work, Gillette de Narbonne (1882), and the goofy Egyptian Putiphar Bey in Victor Roger's comical Josephine vendue par ses soeurs (1886) were amongst his other most important creations in the first part of a career which also included rôles in such further new works as Coquelicot (1882, Perez), Lacome's successful Madame Boniface (1883, Fridolin), La Dormeuse éveillée (1883, Saturnin), Serpette's La Gamine de Paris (1887, Hercule), Lecocq's Les Grenadiers de Mont-Cornette (1887, Canut), Pugno’s Sosie (1887, Neradi/Ravaja), the vaudeville Le Microbe (1887, Petrewski), Audran's Miette (1888) and La Gardeuse d’oies (1888), Pugno's Le Valet de Coeur (1888), the military spectacle Mam’selle Piou-Piou (1889, Camille), Roger's Le Fétiche(1890, Valentin des Hauts-Crénaux), Varney's La Fille de Fanchon la vielleuse(1891, Jules), La Famille Vénus (1891) and Paul Vidal's Eros (1892, Fortuny). He also performed the tenor rôles -- Gontran in Les Mousquetaires au couvent etc -- in the theatre’s repertoire of revivable shows.

The vocal demands grew progressively less, and the comic ones more prominent, as he moved on through such pieces as Pessard's Mam'zelle Carabin(1893, Monsieur Chose), Messager's Madame Chrysanthème (1893, Kangourou), Varney's Les Forains (1894, lion-tamer Jules César), Banès's Le Bonhomme de neige (1894, Fricotin), Diet's Fleur de vertu (1894, Casimir), L'Élève de Conservatoire (1894, Gedéon), Audran's successful L'Enlèvement de la Toledad (1894, Gaston Lombard) La Saint-Valentin (1895, Bertiquet), La Belle Épicière (1895, Pomponneau), the winning vaudeville La Dot de Brigitte(1895, Mulot), and the part of the secret agent in Monsieur Lohengrin (1896, Boussard) to what was undoubtedly the best new rôle of this later period of his career as the joyously silly-âne Duc Jehan de Beaugency of Les Fêtards (1897).

 In 1897 Lamy became a member of the company at the Palais-Royal, where Les Fêtards was included amongst the occasional musical productions in a programme of mainly comedies, but he still made intermittent forays on to other musical stages, creating memorably the part of a low-comical Paris in Claude Terrasse's Paris, ou le bon juge (1906, revived 1922), and latterly onto the cinema stage. He played in Terrasse's Le Coq d'Inde (1908), appeared in revue and, in 1920, took the rôle of Ischabod in the production of Rip! which opened the new Théâtre Mogador and in which his son, Adrien, played the small part of Pickly. He died alongside that same son, and their wives, in the German bombardement of Orléans in 1940 at the age of 83.

 Adrien LAMY [Adrien Maurice Édouard CASTARÈDE] (b Paris, 17 May 1896; d Orléans, 2 July 1940), a clean-necked, boyish, light vocalist, dancer and actor, had a lively career in the Paris musical theatre of the 1920s, playing juvenile lead in the French version of The Pink Lady, replacing Urban in the title-rôle of Dédé, and appearing in prominent juvenile parts in a full list of other popular jazz-age musicals including the Théâtre Marigny's Je t'veux(1923, Vignac, `C'est fou la place que ça tient', `Si c'était pour en arriver là' and the shimmy orientale `Là-bas'), Szulc's Le Petit Choc (1923, Alfred de Marigny, `L'Ouverture de la pêche', `Il faut savoir prendre les femmes'), and Moretti's En chemyse (1924) and Trois jeunes filles ... nues! (1925). In 1926 he was the first French Tom in No, No, Nanette, introducing Paris to `Thé pour deux' and `J'ai confessé à la brise' in partnership with Loulou Hégoburu, with whom he teamed again in Paris's Tip-Toes (Steve Burton), performing `La Femme que j'aimais' (a reverse-sex `The Man I Love') and `Un sentiment' (`That Certain Feeling'). He played the put-upon young hero Étienne Fanoche in Zou! (1930), appeared in Moretti's Rosy (1930) and was Orphée to the Eurydice of Marise Beaujon in the Mogador's starry 1931 revival of Orphée aux enfers. In the subsequent 1930s he appeared in the Parisian-Hungarian Katinka (1933 `En écoutant les petits oiseaux' w Lyne Clevers), as Frontignac in the Josephine Baker La Créole (1934) and in such productions as Les Soeurs Hortensia (1934, film version 1936), Un p'tit bout de femme (1936) and Les Jolies Viennoises (1938).

 Maurice LAMY [Maurice Henri Antoine CASTARDÈDE] (b Lyon, 1863; d April 1930) created two major musical comedy rôles -- the bedazzled shop-boy Aristide in Messager's Les P'tites Michu and the comical Loustot of the same composer's Véronique -- in a career which ran closely alongside that of his brother, Charles. He also appeared in the premières of such pieces as Les Pommes d'or (1883), the French version of Donna Juanita (1891), Le Cocarde Tricolore (1892, M Bosthonn), Cliquette (1893, Nicolas), Serpette's Cousin-Cousine (1893) and Shakespeare! (1899, Jack), Sa Majesté l'amour (1897, Tricala), La Petite Tache(1898, La Bûche), La Dame de trèfle (1898, Roger), La Fille de Paillasse (1894, Joséphin), La Demoiselle aux caméllias (1899, Octave), Lecocq's La Belle au bois dormant (1900, Le Taupier),  and La Fille de la mère Michel(1903, Quatrebard). He also played des Toupettes in the 1897 revival of Les Douze Femmes des Japhet. He later appeared in supporting rôles in several of Louis Ganne's works including Hans, le joueur de flûte (Petronius) and Rhodope at Monte-Carlo, where he was, from 1913 director of the Casino, in Cocorico (Margrave Jean-François) and in Banès's Léda (1909, Ménélas) and, in his sixties, took a four-line rôle as Le Directeur du Casino in Hahn's Le Temps d'aimer (1926).


Quite a family. But I only went forward. And the story of the Castarède dit Lamy family does go back a generation. To father Adrien (1823-1877)  and mother Marie Caroline Victoire Moreau-Valbon née Fleury dite 'Caroloine Duval' (188-1872). And what was my surprise to come upon these photos today: 

It is they. Dated 20 October 1869. And to be found at the ebay shop of the splendid photowide. I thought they deserved to be preserved in context and so .. voilà!