Pre 1897 thumbnails


Neg. No: 2205b
Neg. Size: 12"x10"
Neg. Date: 22-02-1899

copyright V&A

Sitter: Miriam Clements [stage name], Mrs. Cecil Ainsley Walker-Leigh (        ).

version released as a postcardBiog: Actress; m. (?) Major Cecil Ainsley Walker-Leigh.

Miss Clements made her stage debut in 1893 in Dion Boucicault's The Octaroonat the Theatre Royal in Margate, England. In that same venue she played Juliet in 1893. Her next Shakespeare part was in London at Her Majesty's Theatre where she played Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night's Dream in 1900. Her last recorded performance in a play by Shakespeare is as Hero in Much Ado About Nothing at His Majesty's Theatre, London, in 1905.Source:

The Candid Friend, 10 August 1901, p 589

Miss Miriam Clements expresses the splendour of life. She recalls the rich and glowing personages of the Venetian painters. She is made to bear jewels and brocades and the sumtuous garments of the pictorial ages.

I imagine her as the consort of one of Alexander's generals, and I can see her contending with other consorts over the partition of Alexander's empire. She could refuse a province and claim a kingdom with the insolent confidence of Marlowe's women. Her figure is tall and stately, her movements have freedom and dignity, and her features are more ready to express the primary emotions than th shades of feeling.

I have to insist on Miss Clements' appearance, because, so far, she has not been given the parts that fit her temperament; and I use that expression deliberately, because I think Miss Clements has a temperament to reveal, and that in that revelation is her opportunity as an actress. The character in "My Friend the Prince" was not the right one for Miss Clements, but in "A Court Scandal" she aroused hopes scarecely fulfilled by her Hippolyta in "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

The cast of "A Court Scandal" is memorable for the beauty of the women. There were Miss Dorothea Baird, Miss Ethel Matthews, and Miss Miriam Clements. A more thorough and felicitous contrast it would be hard to find. And they were as different in their styles of acting as they were in their appearance. Miss Clement's part was not the longest, but she made it stand out, and aroused the hopes I have already spoken of.

Those hopes are not abandoned. I feel sure that an actress who has so well justified her promotion from the lyric stage can do more than Miss Clements has yet done. But I do not know that acting holds the first place in her affections. She has a great capacity for enjoyment, and is much interested in improving the English thoroughbred. Quidquid agunt homines seems to be her motto; a kindly and tolerant motto certainly, but one that conflicts with the exclusive devotion which art requires.

Date: 22 February 1899.

Occasion: Publicity photograph, taken at the time of her new role, the Duchesse de Bourgogne in "A Court Scandal" at the Court Theatre.

Location: The Lafayette Studio, 179 New Bond Street, London, W.

Descr: TQL seated.

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Furniture & Props: Painted backdrop.

Photographer: Lafayette Ltd., 179 New Bond Street, London.

Evidence of photographer at work: -

No of poses: 7.

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Copyright: V&A

Provenance: Pinewood Studios; acquired 1989.


Biog: Who's Who in the Theatre.

Occasion: The Ladies' Field, 22 April 1899, p 309.

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Reproduced: (versions) The Sketch, 21 February 1900, p 215; The Ladies' Field, 22 April 1899, p 309; The Candid Friend, 10 August 1901, p 589.

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