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Vesta Tilley

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Category: Music Hall
Reference No: 9582
Status: Available
Price: £12.00
  Vesta Tilley

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Legendary Music Hall male impersonator, the greatest of them all; stage name of Lady de Frece.

Vesta Tilley made her first stage appearance at the age of four in a Gloucester music hall owned by her father; later she toured as The Great Little Tilley with her father.

She made her first appearance as a male impersonator in 1869, making her London debut in 1874. By 1880 Tilley was appearing at least three months of the year in the West End, billed as The London Idol.

She had a wonderfully light and graceful touch and despite her masculine attire (man-about-town, sailor, soldier, policeman or priest) never gave an aggressively “butch” performance, always managing to project her basic femininity.

Tilley was the first male impersonator to appear at a Royal Command performance (in 1912), and the next was Ella Shields, a full 36 years later.

Her songs included Burlington Bertie, Following in Father’s Footsteps and After The Ball.

Tilley visited America in 1898, to unanimous press praise – the hardest of US critics, Alan Dale, described her as “the Irving of the Halls”.

This is an early vintage REAL PHOTO postcard, dressed as an elegant toff, nicely signed across the image in dark blue fountain pen ink. There are a number of minor flaws - a bump to the top left corner, a very light crease across the lower left corner and a "ding" about halfway down the right edge - but general condition is good. (Priced to reflect the flaws all of which area visible on the scan.)