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Laurence (and Mabel) Irving

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Category: General Interest
Reference No: 8807
Status: Available
Price: £30.00
  Laurence (and Mabel) Irving

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English actor, dramatist and novelist, son of the great Victorian actor-manager, Sir Henry Irving; died, with his wife, in the worst shipping disaster in Canadian history.

Laurence followed his father into the acting profession, making his first appearance in 1893 in F. R. Benson's theatrical company. He went on to become a dramatist (sadly, it was the financial failure of one of his plays that forced his father to sell the Lyceum Theatre, London.)

Irving was married to a fellow performer, a talented actress called Mabel Lucy Hackney (1880-1914) who followed Ellen Terry as leading lady with Sir Henry Irving, playing Portia in The Merchant of Venice, Rosamond in Becket, and Margaret in Faust.

In 1912 Laurence and Mabel began an overseas tour, beginning in Australia and then moving on to North America. Their biggest success was Laurence's own play Typhoon which was a topical play set in the time of the Russo-Japanese War, with Laurence playing a Japanese officer.

On the 29th of May 1914, Laurence and Mabel Irving were on board the liner RMS Empress of Ireland, steaming on the St Lawrence River in fog when it was struck amidships by a Norwegian coal freighter. The liner sank in just fourteen minutes and 1024 people lost their lives, including the Irvings.

Reports of the tragedy say that the couple became separated and Laurence, after reaching safety, plunged back into the St Lawrence River to rescue his wife, who couldn’t swim. Their bodies were never found.

This is a very fine Rotary postcard showing Laurence and Mabel Irving together in Typhoon, the play in which they were appearing when they died in the Empress of Ireland disaster.Both have added a fine signature in dark blue ink across the image. In very good condition. VERY RARE.