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Images from the Footlight Notes Collection Picture Archive are available on request
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no. 581

Saturday, 1 November 2008

images of theatre and other popular entertainment

Zena Dare, 1968
a snapshot, the last photograph ever taken of
Zena Dare (1887-1975), English actress,
at home in Chelsea, London, 9 January 1968

(photo © John Culme, London, 1968)

'Everybody who has ever been in England has probably at one time or another been fascinated by the beautiful face of Miss Zena Dare. Miss Zena Dare and her sister, Miss Phyllis Dare, are said to have been the most photographed women in England, and although one may not have been in the audience during any of their performances in musical comedy their beautiful faces are sure to have greeted one from the windows of the photograph shops. Miss Zena Dare has always been extremely popular with members of London society, and not only the men but the women as well were fond of the girl and invited her to their homes. She had been acquainted with the family of Lord Esher for six years and was often a guest of the Eshers before her marriage to Captain Maurice Brett, the second son of Lord Esher. The marriage took place at the London Registry Office on January 23, 1911. It was a secret wedding, although the reason for its being so did not appear, as the family of the young man were not unfriendly to the union. The engagement of the young couple had been announced a week before the wedding took place and the family had expressed no opposition to the marriage exact a request that it might be postponed until after the bride had finished her engagement on the stage and had retired to private life. But love refused to wait on even this modified demand of the conventions. After the ceremony took place the bride appeared upon the stage at Cardiff, Wales.
'Miss Dare was considered one of the most beautiful actresses in England and when she was appearing on the stage her beauty drew crowds of admirers to every performance. She was always very popular with English audiences. The part in which she made her greatest success was that of Victoria Siddons in The Gay Gordons. Captain Maurice Brett is an officer in the Coldstream Guards.'
(The Fort Wayne Sentinel, Fort Wayne, Indiana, 31 May 1913, p. 18d/e)

Zena Dare

Zena Dare

(photo: Foulsham & Banfield, London, &c, 1906 and circa)

These two real photograph postcards by the Rotary Photographic Co Ltd of London in its Rotary Photographic Series were published about 1906. The first (5528A, above), featuring portraits of the popular actress Zena Dare in a variety of roles and poses, is from a set celebrating a number of other young actresses and dancers of the day, including Denise Orme and Gabrielle Ray. The second (786, below), with portraits of Zena Dare and her sister Phyllis (1890-1975), is from one of many so-called 'large letter' postcards issued by Rotary.

Zena Dare and her sister, Phyllis

Zena Dare and her sister, Phyllis

(photos: Foulsham & Banfield and others, London, &c, 1906 and circa)

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