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Miss Vanderbilt Wackerman (stage name) ( ).
"Mrs Vanderbilt Wackerman is the daughter of an American father and
a Scots mother. For the last two years she has made London her home, where
she is a very familiar figure in artistic circles. In the masque at the
Guildhall last year Miss Wackerman appeared as Athene, a part for which
her Greek type of beautify peculiarly fitted her." (The Tatler,
24 July 1901, p 159)
Image published in Cool, published by The Fan Museum, Greenwich
The aspiring actress, “Mrs Vanderbilt Wackerman” as the publicity billed her, was the daughter of an American father and a Scots mother. After moving to London she is reported to have become “a very familiar figure in artistic circles.”
In 1899 a dramatic pageant, Beauty's Awakening, A Masque of Winter and Spring, was performed at the London Guildhall in an attempt to show off London as a great artistic city.
Mrs Vanderbilt Wackerman appeared as Athene, a part for which “her Greek type of beauty peculiarly fitted her”, according to The Tatler which published a hat- and fan-less vignette from this session. The critic PG Konody described the whole masque as “the finest and most completely satisfactory artistic spectacle ever witnessed by a London audience.”
Aside from the design and philanthropic merits of the masque, some credit for the rave reviews might be ascribed to the attempt to push the boundaries of late Victorian decency. As well as the forward nature of this pose, Mrs Vanderbilt Wackerman’s hand appears to be holding her dress on. Another image from this series shows her in an even more risqué pose where, as she leans against a column, her clothing has all slipped down a notch and appears to be on the verge of falling off.
15 August 1900.
The Lafayette studio, 179 New Bond Street, London.
& Props: Painted backdrop.
Lafayette Ltd., 179 New Bond Street, London.
of photographer at work: -
of poses: 4.
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Studios; acquired 1989.
Tatler, 24 July 1901, p 159.