Friday, June 18, 2010

Pictures of Lillie

wishing you a happy Friday!

Below are images of the British actress and famous beauty, Lillie Langtry (October 13, 1853 – February 12, 1929) known as "the Jersey Lily". I selected these images from a 19th century album, compiled and created by Mrs. W. F. Graves.

"Born on the Isle of Jersey, (Lillie Langtry) arrived in London in the mid-1870s with her alcoholic husband Edward Langtry and promptly entered society despite having little money. While her beauty at first created a mild interest, it was her attendance of social events clad in the same black dress that created a stir. When someone finally commented on her continuous use of that dress, she arrived at her next engagement wearing a white dress of similar fashion. This provocation created a furor and suddenly, artists wanted to paint her, hostesses vied to have her on their guest lists, and people (even the most fearsome dowagers!) even stood on benches in Hyde Park, or chairs at balls, to catch a glimpse of her. So great was her fame that her greatest wish–to be presented to Queen Victoria–was granted (some say at the instigation of the queen herself!). Coached by the highest in the land (the Prince of Wales, soon her lover), the wittiest (Oscar Wilde), and the most talented (James MacNeil Whistler), she cut a swath through aristocratic society. Frank Miles, one Lillie’s earliest acquaintances, capitalized on the increasing voraciousness of people for pictures of society beauties, and these women, subsequently dubbed “Professional Beauties” or, P.B.’s for short, took not only London at large by storm, but the known world."

(source for quote: Edwardian Promenade - click on The Professional Beauty to read the entire post)

Lillie Langtry as Miss Kate Hardcastle in Oliver Goldsmith's play, She Stoops to Conquer

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