Gabrielle Ray

'Gabrielle Ray said, 'I am always dancing; I love it! When I don't dance, I sing. What else is there to do?'

Flower Basket (Philco 3305 A)


Gabrielle Ray (Philco 3313 B)



A Remarkable Gift


This card shows Miss Ray looking through a large basket of flowers. I don’t know whether it is from a particular production or one of her many “glamour” shots.

James Jupp [1] “the moustachioed,unyielding stage door keeper” [2] recalls that “my stage-door was a miniature Covent Garden on the occasion of a First Night. Baskets of the most exquisite flowers from Bond Street, Regent Street, Piccadilly and other quarters filled the hall and as they were taken into the dressing rooms of the ladies to whom they were sent, so their places were filled by another consignment. These flowers were not always of the “cut” variety, but growing in huge pots and in full bloom” [1]

Often “on a first night there was no room to move for flowers, and the ladies of the Gaiety used to send cabs full of them to the hospital” [3]

“Sometimes those bouquets contained rings, bracelets, necklaces and other jewellery. Sometimes the Gaiety Girls kept these gifts, sometimes they kept the flowers and returned the jewels, it all depended from whom they came” [3]

The gifts were beautiful but “the most remarkable ever sent was received by Gabrielle Ray. It was a complete grapevine, growing in a half hoop over a gigantic basket. It had taken eight years to grow and when delivered at the stage door in a cart it needed four men to carry it in. It bore twenty bunches of beautiful black grapes” [3]   

Jupp added that “it stood about ten feet high and that it was first started to train as an experiment and after eight years this was the result. It was certainly a thing of beauty, but an extraordinary one to be deposited at the stage-door of a theatre as a gift” [1]       

The Gaiety was a place of beauty and excess, of magic and glamour such as nowadays is not to be found. Those summer nights in the 1900’s seemed longer and warmer than the nights of today; the Gaiety Girls were conscious that they were a race apart where a smile would send a young man’s temperature bounding. The Gaiety filled the Strand with joy and its girls gilded it with beauty”. [4]




[1]  Jupp, J. (1923) “The Gaiety Stage Door, Thirty Years Reminiscences of the Theatre” J. Cape, London. (p. 65)  (Accessed 26th   September 2011)

 [2] Brahms, C; and Simon, S. (1946) “Trottie True” Michael Joseph Ltd; London.  (p. 59)

 [3] Maqueen-Pope, W. (1949) “Gaiety, Theatre of Enchantment”, W.H. Allen,  London. (p. 394)

 [4] Maqueen-Pope, W, (1947) “Carrieges at Eleven, The Story of the Edwardian Theatre”, Hutchinson & Co; London. (p. 115 – 116)


September 26, 2011 - Posted by | Actress, Deltiology, Gabrielle Ray, Philco, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , ,


  1. […] Flower Basket (Philco 3305 A) Share this:SharePrintEmailStumbleUponLinkedInDiggRedditTwitterLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

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  4. […] The “Stage Door Johnny” was once a common sight at the theatre now there are “groupies” and “fans” who only crave a “selfie” or perhaps a signed photograph to mark their memorable visit to the theatre. The “Stage Door Johnny” was usually the bearer of gifts or the offer of a dinner as the A Remarkable Gift shows. […]

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