Pre 1897 thumbnails

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Neg. No: GP (L) 1332
Neg. Size: 15"x12"
Neg. Date: 03-07-1897

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Alexander William George Duff, 1st Duke of Fife (1849-1912); Landowner; Liberal MP 1874-1879; vice-president of the Chartered Company of South Africa; director of Paris Bank; partner in banking firm of Sir Samuel Scott & Co.

Princess Louise Victoria Alexandra Dagmar, Duchess of Fife (1867-1931) (declared Princess Royal 1905); Eldest daughter of King Edward VII; m (1889) 1st Duke of Fife.

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Role: (Duke and Duchess) 'in costume of period of Henry II.'

Date: 3 July 1897.

Occasion: Devonshire House Ball, 2 July 1897.

Location: Devonshire House, Piccadilly, London, W.

Descr: FL standing.


(Duke) "...Doublet, indigo blue silk, edged with broad gold braiding, and with six long slashes of black satin, three on each side, and edged with fine gold embroidery. Trunks, indigo blue silk, with a double row of slashes, eight on each leg, embroidered with gold edging. Sleeves of doublet slashed from wrist to shoulder, embroidered same a spurpoint. Mantle of royal blue velvet, turned back and lined with black satin. Short wide sleeves to mantle edged and embroidered with fin gold embroidery, the turn back of the mantle edged with gold. Hose of black silk, shoes embroidered on the front with gold Ruff. Gold chain and jewel round neck. Sword-belt, Royal blue velvet embroidered and edged with gold. Sword, black velvet scabbard, gilt hilt. Pointed lace cuffs. Blue velvet Elizabethan cap." (The Echo, 3 July 1897, p 1g);

(Duchess) "...ivory satin dress... ornamented with thickly massed flowers and conventional foliage, raised from the surface in gold bouillon. This appeared both on the skirt and bodice, and there was a high gold lace collar, and the long sleeves were finished with cuffs of similar lace." (The Daily News, 3 July 1897, p 5g).

Costume Supplier: (Duke) Alias, 36 Soho Square, London W.(1)

Jewellery: (Duchess) Large crescent brooch; diamond star brooch; six-strand collier de chien; and other items; diamond parure.

Orders, Decorations and Medals: (Duke) Collar of the Order of the Thistle.[ck]

Furniture & Props: Backdrop, painted to suggest the garden statuary at Devonshire House; studio Persian rug with wide border and field with pattern of stylized leaves and angular vine.

Photographer: James Stack Lauder (1853-1923) trading as 'J. Lafayette', 179 New Bond Street, London, W.

Evidence of studio at work: (Duke) Shoe and garter ribbon drawn in on negative.

No of poses: 1.

Copyright: V&A

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Provenance: Pinewood Studios; acquired 1989.



(Duke) Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd ed., Burke's Royal Families of the World, Vol 1, London, 1977; Burke's Peerage; The Times, 30 January 1912, pp 7f & 8a & 31 January 1912, p 6b; Kenneth Rose, Kings, Queens and Courtiers, London, 1985;

(Duchess) Dictionary of National Biography; Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd ed., Burke's Royal Families of the World, Vol 1, London, 1977. (See also John Van der Kiste, Edward VII's Children, London, 1989.)

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

Role & Costume:

(Duke) (Elizabethan courtier) The Daily Telegraph, 3 July 1897, p 9g; The Echo, 3 July 1897, p 2f; Pall Mall Gazette, 3 July 1897, p 7b; St. James's Gazette, 3 July 1897, p 8b; The Standard, 3 July 1897, p 4d; The Times, 3 July 1897, p 12d; Black & White, 10 July 1897, p 40; Lady's Pictorial, 10 July 1897, p 50c; The New York Times, 25 July 1897, p 13; (French courtier, Henri II period) Devonshire House Fancy Dress Ball, July 2 1897: A Collection of Portraits in Costume of Some of the Guests, privately printed, 1899, p 6, (National Portrait Gallery Archives); The Daily Chronicle, 3 July 1897, p 8a; The Daily Graphic, 3 July 1897, p 10 [line drawing], p 13a; The Daily News, 3 July 1897, p 5f; The Echo, 3 July 1897, p 2f; The Times, 3 July 1897, p 12e; The Irish Times, 3 July 1897, p 8c; The Morning Post, 3 July 1897, p 7f; Truth, 8 July 1897, p 108b; The Daily Graphic, 10 July 1897, p 10 [line drawing]; The Gentlewoman, 10 July 1897, p 48 [line drawing] & 57a; The Graphic, 10 July 1897, p 78a; The Queen, 10 July 1897, p 76a; (Henri II) The Clarion, 10 July 1897, p 1b.

(Duchess) (Costume of the period of Henri II) Devonshire House Fancy Dress Ball, July 2 1897: A Collection of Portraits in Costume of Some of the Guests, privately printed, 1899, p 5 (National Portrait Gallery Archives); (Lady at the court of Marguerite de Valois, or costume description only) The Daily Graphic, 3 July 1897, p 8a; The Daily News, 3 July 1897, p 5f; The Daily Telegraph, 3 July 1897, p 9f; Pall Mall Gazette, 3 July 1897, p 7b; The Westminster Gazette, 3 July 1897, p 5a; The Lady, 8 July 1897, p 43c; Truth, 8 July 1897, p 107a; Black & White, 10 July 1897, p 40; The Court Circular, 10 July 1897, p 624a; The Gentlewoman, 10 July 1897, p 48b; The Graphic, 10 July 1897, p 78; The Illustrated London News, 10 July 1897, p [ck]; Lady's Pictorial, 10 July 1897, p 42 [illustration] & 50b; The Queen, 10 July 1897, p 76a.

Costume Supplier: (Duke) The Daily Graphic, 3 July 1989, p 13a; The Gentlewoman, 10 July 1897, p 57a; The Echo, 3 July 1897, p 2f.

Orders, Decorations and Medals: (Duke) -

Photographer: Copyright Records, Public Record Office, Kew, COPY 1/431, 3 August 1897 (1 pose registered); The Daily Telegraph, 3 July 1897, p 9f; Black & White, 10 July 1897, p 38b.

Reproduced: Black & White, 10 July 1897, p 40; The Graphic, 10 July 1897, p 78; The New York Times-Illustrated Magazine, 25 July 1897, p 13; Devonshire House Fancy Dress Ball, July 2 1897: A Collection of Portraits in Costume of Some of the Guests, privately printed, 1899, p 6, (National Portrait Gallery Archives).

Acknowledgements: -

1. 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 success 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.