Celebrity for the week ending
Saturday, 28 February 2009

The Sisters Lindon (fl.1872-1886),
'The Musical Belles,'
English music hall and pantomime duettists,
Isabel Lindon (d.1897) and Agnes Lindon (d.1886)

Isabel (Bella) Lindon Agnes Lindon

Isabel (Bella) and Agnes Lindon

(photos: unknown, probably early 1870s)

The Sisters Lindon, Isabel (otherwise Bella and Isabella) and Agnes, daughters of the Adelphi Theatre, London, actor Harry Lindon, appear to have begun their English music hall stage 'Musical Belles' act about 1872. During their fourteen year career together they were considered by at least one contemporary critic to have been 'the best of the lady duettists of their time.' Some of their duets were written by the music hall comedian Sam Bagnall (1836-1885), and George Ison, F. Yarnold, J. de Lampard, George Regent, and Harry Dale. Other songs from Isabel and Agnes Lindon and Isabel Lindon's extensive repertoire included: 'England and France' and 'I'm Mashed on Tootsie Sloper' by Joseph S. Long (1848-1904) and Kate Royal; 'Pretty Little Things' by Harry Dacre (1860-1922); 'Pretty Pattie' by A.W. Bickerdike; 'Gallant Blue Jackets' and 'Free Trade' by T.S. Lonsdale; ' Hand-in-Hand' by T.S. Londsale and G.W. Eaton; 'The Romany Rye' by G.C. Bellamy and G.S. Weeks; 'Lady Mayfair and the Outcast' by G.W. Hunt (1851-1936, who was known as 'The Mark Twain of the Music Halls'); and 'Follies of the Day' by Marie Paterson.

Agnes & Isabel Lindon Isabel & Agnes Lindon

left: Agnes and Isabel Lindon: right: Isabel and Agnes Lindon

(photos: left, James Hertz, Bradford, Yorkshire; right, Stringfellow, Sheffield, Yorkshire, both circa 1875)

Royal Music Hall, London. 'Miss Vesta Tilley sings in male attire. This young lady is endowed with a very good voice, but her method reminds us too forcibly of that adopted by one of the Sisters Lindon to impress by its supposed originality.'
(The Entr'acte, London, Saturday, 19 March 1881, p.11b)

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'Miss Isabella Lindon as Captain Johnny Green [in the pantomime, Theatre Royal, Middlesborough, Christmas, 1881] takes her part with ability. Lady Belle Bell, viz., Miss Agnes Lindon, looks a perfect beauty in the various bewitching costumes she appears in, and her tout ensemble is all that could be desired. The singing of these talented ladies nightly delights all present. An innovation is a pretty duet by them from ''Romeo and Juliet,'' which is given with dramatic expression and great beauty of voice.'
(Middlesbro' News, 21 January 1882, quoted in The Entr'acte, London, Saturday, 28 January 1882, p.1b)

'The Sisters Lindon, who have just concluded a successful engagement at the [Middlesborough] Theatre Royal, appear nightly in new songs, one of which is remarkably good; Miss Isabel appearing as a young exquisite (and we must congratulate this lady on looking such a handsome swell), and Miss Agnes dressed in a lovely dress of black satin trimmed with bead fringe, with a bonnet in which a sunflower is conspicuous, sing a duet ''Witching eyes,'' with a dramatic expression and great beauty of voice. Another pretty duet was entitled ''Leaf by Leaf,'' in which their voices blended beautifully together. These ladies are two of the most refined vocalists we have heard, and are an ornament to their profession.'
(Middlesbro' News, 4 February 1882, quoted in The Entr'acte, London, Saturday, 11 February 1882, p.1b)

'First and foremost for ability and go [at the Oxford music hall, Brighton] come the ever jubilant sisters, Agnes and Isabel Lindon, the musical daughters of the late Harry Lindon, of Adelphi fame, and they have maintained their celebrity as among the best and most fascinating in their line on the variety stage.'
(The Music Hall News, 3 June 1882, quoted in The Entr'acte, London, Saturday, 17 June 1882, p.1b)

Raglan music hall, London.
'The Sisters Lindon made an excellent start with ''The Gallant Blue-jackets of England,'' which was very pleasingly rendered. Their second and last essay was a familiar ditty, ''Will you take a little walk down the lane, Mary Ann?'' Except that time was pressing, we are at a loss to understand why these talented ladies were ''off'' so quickly. Another song from them would have been far preferable to the doleful doings of the Spencers, who must find a different sketch to that which they appeared in (''Poor Joe'') if they hope to be successful.'
(The Entr'acte, London, Saturday, 23 September 1882, p.11b)

Isabel and Agnes Lindon

Isabel and Agnes Lindon
'Sisters Lindon – Musical Belles.'

(caricature by Alfred Bryan, The Entr'acte Almanack, London, 1876)

Theatre of Varieties, Leeds.
'The Sisters Lindon, the Musical Belles, after a long absence, appeared here during the past week, and delighted all by their unimpaired powers and artistic singing and acting.'
(The Era, 23 August 1884, quoted in The Entr'acte, London, Saturday, 13 September 1884, p.1b)

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'SISTERS LINDON, Musical Belles. Great success of Miss ISABEL as Ganem in John Levey's Grand Pantomime, FORTY THIEVES, at THEATRE ROYAL, ROTHERHAM.
Spirit of the Press.
'''Miss Isabel Lindon, the principal artist in two of the most successful Sheffield pantomimes, is specially engaged for the leading rôle.'' - Rotherham Advertiser, December 19, 1885.
'''Miss Isabel Lindon, whom we recollect seeing in Sheffield as Aladdin and Sinbad, improved upon acquaintance. Her Ganem is the true essence of burlesque. Whether she is speaking, singing, or dancing, the artist is continually to the fore.'' - Rotherham Advertiser, December 26 [1885].
'''Miss Isabel Lindon's Ganem is a very meritorious performance. She enters thoroughly into the spirit of the part, and the result is most gratifying.'' - Era, January 2 [1886].
'''Miss Isabel Lindon, in the rôle of Ganem, infuses the true sprit of burlesque into her rendering.'' - Era, January 9 [1886].
'''Miss Isabel Lindon plays Ganem with all the dash and finish of a true artist.'' - January 2 [1886].
'In reply to many kind enquiries, Miss Agnes is fast recovering from her severe indisposition.'
(The Entr'acte, London, Saturday, 16 January 1886, p.13b)

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'My readers will regret to hear of the death (on Tuesday morning [20 February 1886]) of Miss Agnes Lindon, (of the Sisters Lindon).'
(The Entr'acte, London, Saturday, 20 February 1886, p.4b)

'The Lindon family has been severely decimated since I was brought into contact with it, when it consisted, as I knew it, of the father, two daughters, and a son (George). First to go was the father, then the son, and now one of the two clever daughters, who were, perhaps, the best of the lady duettists of their time. Isabel is left, and I hope we may all soon have an opportunity of giving her a welcome on the stage.'
(The Entr'acte, London, Saturday, 27 February 1886, p.5a)

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'ISABEL LINDON (of SISTERS LINDON). Now on Tour with John Levey's nightly successful Pantomime, THE FORTY THIEVES (Ganem). Monday Next, THEATRE ROYAL, GOOLE.
'Sincere thanks to all friends for their kind letters of sympathy.'
(The Entr'acte, London, Saturday, 27 February 1886, p.13b)

'ISABEL LINDON (of SISTERS LINDON). Unprecedented success as BOY BLUE, Haldane Crichton Burlesque Company, Feb. 28 [1887], PUBLIC HALL, WARRINGTON [CHESHIRE].
'''We must mention the capabilities of Miss Isabel Lindon, who takes the rôle of Boy Blue, a character which loses nothing by her rendition of it. Throughout she acts the part of the true lover with realistic effect. Excellent, however, as is her acting, it is surpassed by her singing, her songs, which are usually of a patriotic turn, earning the loud applause of the audience. One of them in particular, 'Put on lots of side,' is given in a manner which fairly brings down the house.'' - Chester Guardian.'
(The Entr'acte, London, Saturday, 26 February 1887, p.13.b)

'ISABEL LINDON (of SISTERS LINDON). VENTO'S VARIETIES, PORTSMOUTH.
'''Miss Isabel Lindon is one of the best male impersonators on the music-hall stage; her songs are A1 and sung in a rollicking style that takes immensely. She is mashed [i.e. has a crush], it appears, on Tootsie Sloper, who had informed her that the only chance to get her father's consent is to make His Eminence inebriated with 'cold unsweetened.' But Isabel, you might just as well try to make 'Lancelot' inebriated with 'cold Scotch.' You are a charming little actress, and I wish you luck.'' - The Crescent, June 15 [1888].'
(The Entr'acte, London, Saturday, 30 June 1888, p.13b)

'The remains of the late Isabel Lindon (of the Sisters Lindon, musical belles) were interred at Cleethorpes Cemetery on April 29 [1897]. As was announced last week, Miss Lindon, who died at Birkenhead had quite recently fulfilled an engagement at the Grimsby Royal. Her last wish, to be buried in the same grave with her sisters, Miss Agnes Lindon, was faithfully carried out by her constant friend, Miss Lizzie Villiers, who brought the body from Birkenhead. Wreaths were contributed by the following (many of whom attended the funeral): - Mr. And Mrs. E. Best and family, Mr. And Mrs. Beales, Mrs. T.E. Cook, Miss Annie Craston, Miss Marie Balfour, Miss Florrie Benton, Mahoney family, Miss Carrie Joy, Miss Mary Swinnerton, Mr. And Mrs. McCarthy, Mr. And Mrs. Dardind (Bournemouth), Miss Lizzie Villiers, and B. Concoran.'
(The Stage, London, Thursday, 6 May 1897, p. 14d)

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© John Culme, 2009