Sunday, April 28, 2024

High Society Amdrams: Vienna 1869.

Often, in the past, I've found that some wonderful photographic records have survived of Amateur Theatricals... when they have been the sport, especially, of the aristocracy or the military. 

Such as this 1864 York set from Garrison playacting ... which I was able to tie up with a newspaper report of the occasion

Or this, from Algeria in 1865

Well, I've just happed on the loftiest lot of all. Vienna, 1869. It really was a lucky strike, because it was just a matter of strolling through an ebay shop (the 20th or 30th today) until something caught my eye. Lots of aristo photos. Normal. There are always lots of aristopix. Apparently folk bought them. But one of them was labelled 'Baron de Bourgoing Treumann'. Treumann? In 1869 there was only one Treumann in Vienna for me ... the great Karl Treumann of the Theater am Franz Josef-Kai. I looked at the photo ... Well, unless we have a very bent Baron on our hands, that fat lady is none other than he!

So the Baron did Amdrams. But wait, there's a whole bunch of photos labelled and unlabelled, all evidently from the same photo session. 

Anna Strachwitz

Anna Walkenstein

Gräfin Salbe

Marquis de Vauquelas

Prince de Polignac

Prinzessin Scylla

Prinzessin Furstenberg

Alice Flarnoncourt

Seems as if they all attended the same 'do', and that a society photographer was brought in to record the affair ..

So I looked, and I found this ...

My German is to put it politely ropey. It was forbidden in our childhood home, from which everything German and Austrian was carefully excluded. But I can tell that we have a 'Benefit' performance at the Schwarzenburg's Palace at which the lofty Lustpielers got to do their stuff. Either playing or parading.

The opened with a vaudeville in which Vauquelas was featured, followed up by a pantomime -- evidently the source of the unlabelled Pierrot picture above. I see Mrs Salve and Furstenberg had 'thinkiing' parts. The third piece was a vehicle for the Baron, with Mmes Furstenberg and Strachwitz and the Marquis in suport. 

A Gräfin with a nice voice sang Gounod, Schumann and Mozart, to gloved applause, and proceedings ended with the Baron and Treumann performing a German version of Fleur de ligne et Perle d'Alsace (music: Strebinger) in which Bourgoing played a Regimentstambour and Treumann ... an old market woman. Well, none of the Gräfins and Prinzessins wouls have wanted to play old and ugly and low comic!  And that, of course, is the photo above.

So, I think I can safely say that this is the occasion on which were taken the set of photos for sale from Bits of Our Past, in dear old Stockport ...

Friday, April 26, 2024

Emily. The nitty gritty!


It is rather a while since I've written about the horses. No they hav'n't been 'resting' ... Kurty has been up at Kyle Cameron's place, running solidly round in circles with no fuss and not a lot of forwardeness. He will not, says Kyle, 'make a young horse'. His great-uncle came 4th in the Trotting Stakes and ran (or got knocked over) in the Jewels in his year .. then we brought the French stallion Love You into the blood line and ...  well, Kurty's mama was an exceptionally tall mare, legs up to her chin, which were her undoing ... please, don't say this wee chappie is going to be a giant.

Anyway, we went up last weekend to see him do his lazy loop round the track. He's beautiful. But, alas, with racehorses 'beauty is as beauty does'. And then he came home, and is peaceably eating our green grass (yes, much of Canterbury is beige to yellow, but we always have grass), and lying down an awful lot. I hope he's not growing more ..


And then there is Emily. Last season we had great hopes of Emily. Her 3 year-old form was excellent, and she came back with a smashing win at Ashburton. That was at the end of last year. Since then she had had ten starts. Apart from the odd 'accident', she has not run what you might call 'badly' and she has finished mostly on the tail of some nice horses (and some who have made remarkable improvement). But ... well, But.

Well, if she were not to be competitive in Canterbury, I decided we would have to send her where she WAS competitive. Contacts were made with trainers in both islands. She had Ashburton (again) and two races at Rangiora to show us that she still had the "it" that our dear, late Murray Edmonds had spied in her.

Wendy, more practically, said 'get her blood done'.

The blood analysis showed that she had muscle tie-up and ... treatment ($$$) went into action immediately.

A week later it was Ashburton. Same old rivals and we were the rank outsider of ten!  And drawn two, next to my favourite horse (except ours) in New Zealand: PRINCE TEKA!  Driven by .. Kyle Cameron. Hah! I said to him, 'lead and trail?'  Wendy said the same to our then default driver, Jimmy.

And guess what! That's exactly what happened. We got out first, Kyle came round and we trotted merrily and briskly around in front ... well, you can watch it here

Rank outsider? Insult. She showed them! 

That's her, in yellow ... 

So, now we are 27 April. She will run tomorrow at Rangiora, from a filthy draw. And without Jimmy who has jumped off her (for the second time) in favour of another horse. OK. Fair enough. But I think we need a new default driver ....  Em will be driven for her next two starts by the (slightly-going-to-fat) junior driver, Tom Bamford, who drove such a nice race on her in the Darren de Filippi Memorial. 

Two more races and then ... is 'home' still Motukarara?  Or is it Bulls or Invergiggle ...?

Watch this space!


Well we've had one nitty run and one gritty. I'll be brief.

28 April. Horrendous draw and start ... but Em got away best of the back row .. which thanks to the dumb starter wasn't a second row, but a 10-20 metres handicap. Starters round here are getting less and less competent. We need the French system .. anyway she ran anonymously ... Invergiggle loomed ...

5 May.. Tom got sidelined by domestic issues. So Carter Dalgety took the bike for the Junior drivers race. We were 5/5 in the betting at 20/1. We're getting used to that. Well, after an iffy start (losing 6-7  lengths), Carter gave her every chance. She loomed up on the turn, was third with yards to run, but got zapped by the waiters and finished 5th.

Young man with horn


I couldn't resist this 1868 photograph that I spotted on e-bay today ... 

Frosty morn, so let's have a little dig ..

This should be easy. Well, it wasn't.

Like so many German Jewish families, they changed their name, not once but several times.

Clint is 21 years old here. And he should know how to spell his own name, yes? And he says he is Clinton Benjamin SCHWER. Born 18 September 1847. Son of Bavarian immigrant labourer Mathias Schwer and his Pennsylvanian wife Julia/Julie/Julianne née GLATFALLTER ..

Clint became a lifelong shoemaker. He married Hannah Elizabeth née Kline. Or Cline. With their name varying from SCHWIER to SCHWEIER to SCHWEIRS to SWOYER et al, they moved to Scranton where Clint plied his trade and produced a vigorous supply of babies: Annie (26 August 1871), Ma(r)y, James Albert (6 January 1875) , Edith R (18 August 1878), Edwin Everhart (19 May 1880), Grace Gertrude (31 March 1882), Lillie Logan (11 January 1884), Florence Isabella (9 April 1889), Cornelia Wells (7 March 1887)... and who is F Harold Schwiers living with the widowed Hannah, Florence and Lillie at 1335 Adams, Scranton in 1908? I see they lost one child in 1896 ...

Anyway, I guess Clint had given up the horn! Oh. I see in 1898 that he was a janitor ...

I've followed up one or two of the daughters. Cornelia became Mrs Elmer A Fenne, Grace became Mrs Snyder, Florence became Mrs Cooper and then Mrs something else, Lillie became Mrs Smith, Annie seems to have been Mrs David F Walton and a multiple mother, James wed and bred and died in 1957  .. but the variants of the surname defeated any further efforts.

Clint died 30 November 1905. Hannah 20 June 1921 ...

I've posted this photo on findagrave ... maybe a descendant will see it.

Christine Bennett turned up this splendid 1869 chart ...

And this photo popped up ...

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Autumn in Gerolstein, or 'Not Yet, Nannette'


25th April. Well and truly autumn ... says the sheoak outside my window ...

But if the trees are autumning, the flowers are saying 'not yet, Nannette'!

Monday, April 22, 2024

The day I was born ... on Broadway!


When I was born, my mountaineering father put a pebble from the top of Mount Egmont in my tiny fingers.

Well, I tried. I climbed Hochstetter Dome when 12 or 13 ... but the magic wore off. Dad ought to have put a quill pen, or the latest theatre listings in that newborn hand.

The listings, on that fatidic 15 February 1946, included -- at New York's New Century Theater -- a musical comedy entitled -- in the revusical manner of the time -- Are You With It? And, in the revusical manner of the time it included a featured vocal quartet, the Plantation Minstrels, five 'arrangers', circus performers et al. It was allegedly based on a novel but I suspect not a lot of plot was left between the turns!

Anyway, it was entertaining enough to get a transfer, after five months, to the Shubert Theater for the last two months of its run, and closed after a brave 267 performances.

Looking down the cast list (courtesy of Richard Norton) I see that much of the score was cornered by two young ladies well-remembered by all: Miss Joan Roberts and Miss Dolores Gray. The titles included 'You Gotta Keep Saying 'No'' sung by Miss Gray as 'Bonny La Fleur' and 'This is My Beloved' duetted by Miss Roberts and Johnny Downs, while June Richmond warbled about 'Just Beyond the Rainbow'. Well-used titles?

Dance was heavily featured, with Kathryn Lee, Buster and Olive Shaver, Ray Arnett, Bunny Briggs and Hal Hunter all having bits of Jack Donaghue's dances. And then there were the choruses

Is that slightly-clad lass Miss Roberts? Is that Miss Gray, with her trademark blonde boucles? ... They don't look like backline babes ... I don't know. I was only four months old when the show closed 

But I'm sure someone will!

Minutes later Stephen Cole came back with ..

So Ms Gray was not yet blonded (I'll bet that's her understudy) and these are, apparently, chorines. Maybe that's Kathryn Lee?

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!