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Neg. No:GP (L) 1402
Neg. Size: 15"x12"
Neg. Date: 03-07-1897

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Spencer Compton Cavendish, 8th Duke of Devonshire (1833-1908); Statesman.

Mildred Cecilia Harriet, Viscountess Chelsea, later Lady Charles Montagu (1869-1942), née Sturt; 3rd daughter of 1st Baron Alington; m 1stly (1892) Henry Arthur, Viscount Chelsea; m 2ndly (1910) Admiral of the Fleet, Sir Hedworth Meux; m 3rdly (1930) Lord Charles Montagu.

Role: (Duke of Devonshire) Emperor Charles V (1500-1558). (Lady Chelsea) Venditrice di Fiore (Italian flower-girl).(1)

Date: 3 July 1897.

Occasion: The Devonshire House Ball, 2 July 1897.

Location: Devonshire House, Piccadilly, London, W.

Descr: FL standing.


(Duke) "...after the picture by Titian. Surcoat black velvet lined satin, sleeves puffed large at shoulders. The surcoat turned back in front with black fur, and ending in fur cape scalloped, black beaded embroidered pattern on end of surcoat. Doublet black Genoa velvet embroidered tiny jet black beads, slightly open on chest, showing white shirt. Black silk trunks slashed with white satin. Hose, black silk high above the knee. Black velvet shoes. Toque black velvet with feather. Black chain and Order of the Golden Fleece round neck. Sword belt, black leather and silver fastenings. Sword, scabbard black leather, oxydised hilt." (The Echo, 3 July 1897, p 2f).

(Lady Chelsea) "...Robe of velvet, rose tendre et Dalmatique robe de chine, lined white silk underdress of silver tissue. The whole dress is trimmed with very old gold lace studded with rose pearls, turquoises, pearls, and silver. Cordeliere and couture entirely of white pearls." (The Echo, 3 July 1897, p 2g).

Costume Supplier: (Duke of Devonshire & Lady Chelsea) Alias, 36 Soho Square, London.(2)

Orders, Decorations and Medals: (Duke of Devonshire) Collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece (reported as lent by the Prince of Wales).

Furniture & Props: Backdrop, painted to suggest the garden statuary at Devonshire House; studio Persian rug.

Photographer: The firm of J. Lafayette, 179 New Bond Street, London, W.

Evidence of photographer at work: Photographer's tent and backdrop holder visible above backdrop.

No of poses: 1 (see also neg. no dev1402.html).

Spencer Compton Cavendish, 8th Duke of Devonshire (1833-1908).

Copyright: V&A

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Provenance: Pinewood Studios; acquired 1989.


Biog: (Duke of Devonshire) Dictionary of National Biography; Burke's Peerage; Who's Who; The Times, 25 March 1908, p 11d; (see also Henry Leach, The Duke of Devonshire, London, 1904; Bernard Holland, Life of the Duke of Devonshire, London, 1911 . (Lady Chelsea, later Lady Charles Montagu) Burke's Peerage; The Times, 18 September 1942, p 7d.

Occasion: Sophia Murphy, The Duchess of Devonshire's Ball, London, 1984.

Role & Costume:

(Duke of Devonshire) (role and costume) The Daily Chronicle, 3 July 1897, p 7g; The Daily Graphic, 3 July 1897, p 9 [illustration] & p 13a; The Daily News, 3 July 1897, p 5f; The Daily Telegraph, 3 July 1897, p 9g; The Echo, 3 July 1897, p 2f; The Irish Times, 3 July 1897, p 8c; The Morning Post, 3 July 1897, p 7g; Pall Mall Gazette, 3 July 1897, p 7b; The Standard, 3 July 1897, p 4b; The Times, 3 July 1897, p 12b & 12c; Westminster Gazette, 3 July 1897, p 5a; The Lady, 8 July 1897, pp 43c & 73c; Truth, 8 July 1897, p 108b; Vanity Fair, 8 July 1897, p 27b; Black & White, 10 July 1897 p 56a; The Court Circular, 10 July 1897, p 624a; The Gentlewoman, 10 July 1897, p 48 [line drawing] & 48b; The Graphic, 10 July 1897, p 79a; Lady's Pictorial, 10 July 1897, p 41 [drawing] & 50c; The Queen, 10 July 1897, p 73c.

(Lady Chelsea) (role only as a Veronese Lady) The Daily News, 3 July 1897, p 5g; (role as a Veronese Lady and costume description) The Echo, 3 July 1897, p 2g; The Gentlewoman, 10 July 1897, p 56c; The Standard, 3 July 1897, p 4b; (role only as a Veronese noblewoman) The Daily Telegraph, 3 July 1897, p 10c; The Sketch, 14 July 1897, p 486; (role only as Venditrice di Fiori) The Morning Post, 3 July 1897, p 7e; The Times, 3 July 1897, p 12a; Devonshire House Fancy Dress Ball, July 2 1897: A Collection of Portraits in Costume of Some of the Guests, privately printed, 1899, p 221, (National Portrait Gallery Archives).

Costume Supplier: (Duke of Devonshire) The Echo, 3 July 1897, p 2f; The Daily Graphic, 3 July 1989, p 13a; Black & White, 10 July 1897, p 56a; The Graphic, 10 July 1897, p 79a; The Sketch, July 14, 1897, p 484b; (Lady Chelsea) The Echo, 3 July 1897, p 2g.

Orders, Decorations and Medals: (Duke of Devonshire) The Queen, 10 July 1897, p 73c, et al (see costume above).

Photographer: The Daily Telegraph, 3 July 1897, p 9f; Black & White, 10 July 1897, p 38b.

Reproduced: (Version of Lady Chelsea with Lord Charles Montagu) The Sketch, 14 July 1897, p 486.

1. Some newspaper reports referred to Lady Chelsea as a "Veronese Lady of the 14th-century", see role and costume references above.




Kurt Friedrich Gänzl, The Encylopedia of the Musical Theatre, Blackwell, Oxford, 1994. Vol 1, p 19:

ALIAS, Charles (b France, 184-?; d London, 11 May 1921). The most famous name in British theatrical costumery in the second half of the 19th century.

The son of a French doctor, the young Alias fought alongside his father in the Franco-Prussian war where he is said to have lost the sight in one eye. He visited Britain and the Philharmonic Theatre, Islington, shortly afterwards as a dresser with the French dance troupe, Les Clodoches, and there he met and married Miss Price, the theatre's costumer. Although Alias had no experience in the theatre, he joined his wife in setting up the freelance firm of M et Mme Alias & Co, someties designing and manufacturing, or more often just making up from the designs of such artists as Wilhelm or Faustin, the costumes for an ever-extending series of musical shows.

The Aliases made their mark in the West End when theyprovided the costumes for the original London production of La Fille de Madame Angot (1873), and thereafter they costumes, either wholly or partly, many of London's most important musical productions including the burlesques at the Gaiety Theatre (The Bohemian G'yurl, Little Dr Faust, Gulliver, Il Sonnambulo, Pretty Esmeralda etc), the Royalty (Madcap, Pluto etc), and the Strand (The Lying Dutchman, L'Africaine, Nemesis, Loo, Antarctic, Champagne, The Baby, Intimidad), Gilbert's early Tospyturveydom and Princess Toto, Gilbert and Sullivan premières at the OPera Comique (The Pirates of Penzance) and the Savoy (Iolanthe), the vast spectaculars at the Alhambra (La Poule aux oeufs d'or etc) and, most noticeably, the long string of French opéras-bouffes and opéras-comiques which were produced in Britain in the 1870s and 1880s. These included the record-breaking Trouillat (La Belle Normande), Le Jour et la nuit (Manola), La Timbale d'argent (The Duke's Daughter), La Marjolaine, Les Prés St Gervais and most of the long string of adaptations from the French made by Alias's close friend Henry Farnie, and produced by Alexander Henderson.

Alias maintained a close connection with his homeland. His home at 48 Soho Square became well known as a first stopping place for Frenchmen new to London and a congenial gathering place for theatricals, and he as a useful and friendly intermediary in various theatrical dealings between London and Paris. Hervé, Planquette, Chassaigne, Audran and Lecocq were all guests at Soho Square and the little costumier was said to have been instrumental in the brothers Mansell bringing Hervé and his Chilpéric (1870) to London, and thus helping set off the craze for opéra-bouffe which dominated the 1870s musical theatre in England. He also encouraged Planquette to work with H B Farnie on an original musical for Britain - the result of which was the enduring Rip van Winkle.

Alias & Co prospered in the 1880s, having a major succss with their new costumes for the transferred version of the amazing Dorothy, and on into the 1890s by which stage they had become largely costume-makers rather than designers. Alias himself had by this time become one of the 'characters' of the London theatre, always anxiously asking 'What time de répétition générale?' as an opening approached, but always punctually ready with the show's costumes on dress-rehearsal night.

When Mme Alias died, Charles remarried and continued the business with his new wife, Mme Marie Wallet Floret from the Paris Opéra wardrobe, up to his death.