Postcard of the week ending
Saturday, 2 May 2009

Mrs Lewis Waller (née Florence West, 1862-1912),
English actress,
enjoying the pleasures of the open air
at Durban on her tour of South Africa, 1903

Mrs Lewis Waller

Mrs Lewis Waller (Mrs Florence Waller Lewis)

(photo: unknown, Durban, South Africa, 1903)

This real photograph postcard, no. 1465, published in London about 1903 by J. Beagles & Co, is of the well-known English actress, Mrs Lewis Waller, on her tour of South Africa in 1903.

'Some Personal Secrets About Preservation of Actresses' Good Looks.
'It is quite exceptional to find an actress who has not mastered the secret of preserving their good looks, despite the late hours and the ill-ventilated atmosphere of the theater. The average woman, envying the freshness of complexion possessed by the ladies of the theatrical profession, naturally wishes to know the recipe for preserving this beauty.
'The secret is simple. With very few exceptions, every actress will tell you she maintains her good looks merely through plenty of exercise in the fresh air. The noted beauty, Miss Lily Hanbury, says she ascribes her splendid constitution to walking so many miles a day in all kinds of weather. During her holidays last year, which she spent at Llandrindod Wells, Miss Hanbury amazed all the visitors there by her long walking excursions. She believes also in walking at a quick pace, and thinks this is more beneficial than to dawdle along at a smail's speed.
'Miss Eva Moore attributes her good health to constant driving in the open air. At one time she was an ardent cyclist, but recently she has taken to motoring, and drives her own victoria with the skill of an expert. Miss Moore varies this by drives in her dogcart, and though she delights in her motor car, she declares nothing does her more good than a long spin in the country behind her own favorite cob. Mrs. Lewis Waller is another favorite actress who is passionately fond of driving both in her own elegant motor and her own dogcart, and she, too, ascribes the good health she enjoys to the benefits of fresh air obtained in her driving excursions.
'Many actresses declare that the best way to obtain fresh air and amusement at the same time is by angling, and quite a number are expert fisherwomen. Others pin their faith to golf or cycling, or rely upon the benefits of skipping rope exercise, which is claimed to produce a graceful and erect carriage.
'Miss Constance Collier, an actress whose brilliant beauty is known to all theatergoers, is both an angler and a punter, and declares that nothing benefits her more than a long summer day's punting on the river. Mrs. Brown-Potter, another celebrated stage beauty, makes her headquarters at her cottage at Maidenhead in order that she, too, may enjoy the benefits of walking, driving and fishing in perfectly pure air. Popular Miss Connie Ediss asserts that any woman who wishes to keep her good looks has only to take to angling as a pastime, and she will soon find that all wrinkles disappear and every worry is smoothed away by the pleasures of this fascinating pursuit. Miss Ediss, in addition to her belief in fresh air, has also a recipe for a facial treatment which is warranted to keep the complexion beautifully smooth and free from lines.
'Once a week Miss Ediss advises steaming of the face for twenty minutes either by one of the steam vaporizers or by holding her face over boiling water. When the pores are thus opened the face must be sponged with boiling water, followed immediately by an application of ice cold water. The face must then be dried carefully with a soft towel. This done, the skin should be massaged with some good face cream. When this is finished the face must again be washed with boiling water to remove the grease, and the final touch is given by an application of cold water to which a few drops of benzoin have been added.
'Miss Lena Ashwell is another believer in the efficacy of fresh air, and also has faith in the soothing properties of a certain beauty water and fragrant herbs. Miss Ashwell considers that this beauty water helps to do away with any of the ill effects of the theatrical ''make-up,'' and renders the skin soft and fragrant as an infant's. Miss Lily Brayton, who possesses a pretty, soft complexion, is rather an exception to the general rule, and is no lover either of athletic pursuits, sports, or even walking, but takes a moderate amount of exercise in the fresh air every day. Miss Genevieve Ward, who statuesque features still retain the beauty which has held playgoers in thrall, pins her faith for preserving one's good looks on simple diet and strict abstinence from alcohol in any form. Miss Ward also believes in fresh air and exercise, and says playfully that though she is sixty she is still so young at heart that she could ''slide down the balusters [sic] with any child.''
'The whole secret for preserving youth and beauty resolve itself, therefore, into a few words - exercise, fresh air and temperate living. Consensus of opinion seems to point to the virtues of fresh air as the finest cosmetic, of exercise as the beast stimulant, and of rational diet as the most effective medicine. These three principles remain the same, though the methods of administering them may very. Exercise may consist of anything from golf to simple walking; fresh air may be of diet may vary from ordinary moderation to strict vegetarianism and total abstinence [sic]. A good complexion is dependent upon the general health, and artificial methods of improving one's appearance are not alone to be relied upon.'
(from the Daily Mail, London, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, Saturday, 8 March 1902, p. 8c)

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© John Culme, 2009