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?'

The Pyjama Drama – The Sketch – Wednesday 16th January 1907



THE forthcoming transference of “Toddles” to the Playhouse may revive the remarks that have been made in connection with the now-famous suit of pyjamas worn by Mr. Maude in the piece. It was, no doubt, the fact that pyjamas are usually worn in the seclusion of one’s own room which furnished the occasion for the comments, for there is certainly no more indelicacy in them than there is in a flannel outfit for cricket or tennis.

No one would ever dream of accusing Mr. Barrie of writing a line or introducing a suggestion which could possibly bring the blush of shame to the cheek of innocence, or offend the ear or eye of even the most susceptible; yet, on the stage of the Duke of York’s Theatre; for three Christmastides in succession he has presented the spectacle of the Pyjama Drama, for who can forget the little Darlings in their nighties and their pyjamas all comfortably tucked up in their beds before the advent of Peter Pan and Tinker Bell brought them up all wide awake to have such a delightful time?

Who, too, can possibly forget beautiful Miss Pauline Chase, now promoted to be Peter, in the pyjamas of her Pillow-case Dance, and all the other benightgowned children in the second act of the play? It was, by the way, a pair of pyjamas which first brought Miss Chase into prominence. It was in America, in a musical comedy called “The Liberty Belle,” that she appeared as the Pink Pyjama Girl, among a bevy of pretty girls all wearing fluffy white nighties, and they were the sensation of the play, and practically made its reputation, so that it was acted to crowded houses for a long time. The Pink Pyjama Girl even inspired a song sung in that costume by Miss Gabrielle Ray at the Gaiety.

At the Apollo Theatre one of the most applauded numbers in “The Dairymaids” was a song to some little girls in their nightgowns just before they toddled off to bed. Children, however, can do many things and can appear in costumes which fail to draw the least remonstrance from the most strait-laced, furnishing another proof of the famous proverb, that “to the pure all things are pure,” for no one could by any possibility make any suggestion of impropriety in the case of a blue-eyed, golden-haired little mortal in a dainty befrilled and beribboned garment, reaching from her throat to her toes or to a dark-haired, dark-eyed child.

The Pyjama Drama is, however, only a “modern instance” in a subject which goes far back in the history of the British theatre, in just the same way as our coat and trousers have developed from the satin coat and breeches of the Powder period, or from the trunks and tunics of the great Elizabethan age. Who first introduced pyjamas or their equivalent nobody could probably say. Certainly, Thomas Heywood, whose “Woman Killed with Kindness,” one of the first domestic dramas of the stage, as we understand the term, did so. The admirers of Shakspere are constantly declaring that he is the most modern of all dramatists. He was certainly one of the writers of the Pyjama Drama, and bolder than any modern playwright, Bernard Shaw not excepted; he did not introduce the garment of the bedroom into his comedies, but “went the limit” and actually put it into the tragedies. When, after the murder of Duncan, Lady Macbeth heard the knocking at the gate which proclaimed the arrival of Macduff, did she not bid her husband to “get on his nightgown”? And perhaps when one of the many proposed Macbeths produces the play this season he may bring on the Thane of Cawdor in that garment worn under a dressing-gown. Lady Macbeth herself certainly wore her nightgown when in her sleep-walking scene she “gave herself away” so terribly to the Doctor and the Gentlewoman. If exception is taken to the fact that in both cases a dressing-gown is worn, no such plea can be urged in the case of “Romeo and Juliet,” “ Cymbeline,” or in the last act of “Othello,” when Desdemona, like Imogen, is discovered in bed.

The realistic actress always wears a regulation nightdress with angel-sleeves to make it look old-fashioned, even though she does not, as one famous Desdemona did, go to bed in high-heeled white satin shoes.

One of the great test-parts of the French drama which has always exercised considerable fascination for our own actresses is the name-part in “Camille,” the last act of which discovers the heroine in bed. An American actress by no means unknown in London created a great effect when she played the part by wearing an ordinary nightdress and going regularly to bed before the curtain rose, so that when she got out of bed it was seen that she had no stockings on, and she realised the opening lines of Sir John Suckling’s “Ballad upon a Wedding,” changing, of course, the familiar petticoat of the text, beneath which her feet, “like little mice, stole in and out,” to suit the exigencies of the occasion. When Mrs. Patrick Campbell produced “Beyond Human Power,” it will be remembered that she had to play practically the whole of one act in bed in a nightdress.

Again, in “Mrs. Ponderbury’s Past,” produced a few years ago at the Avenue, did not Miss Lottie Venue wear a robe de nuit, as did many of the actresses in “A Night Out,” at the Vaudeville?

The extraordinary value which may lurk within a fold of bed-clothes was, perhaps, never more vividly demonstrated than in the case of “The Worst Woman in London,” when it was produced at the Adelphi. In that play the appearance of a gentleman in a long white garment reaching down to his toes evoked laughter loud and long, to be repeated at frequent intervals as he moved about the bedroom, which the scene represented, until he finally got into bed. Even the fact that in going to bed he was going to be murdered could not restrain the feelings of the audience, and that scene ‘alone probably did not a little to secure the run of the play for many weeks, and to prove that there is money in the Pyjama Drama.


The Sketch – Wednesday 16th January 1907

The Orchid (Philco 3274 F)

Pauline Chase – The Bystander – 1906

Pyjama day

Pink Pyjama Girl



March 20, 2023 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Orchid, The Sketch, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gabrielle Ray (Rotary 4038 J)

Gabrielle Ray (Rotary A 9. 4)

March 16, 2023 Posted by | Actress, Deltiology, Gabrielle Ray, Rotary, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lily Elsie – The Merry Widow – The Sketch – Wednesday 22 May 1907



The presentation of “The Merry Widow” will introduce a new leading lady to the London musical-comedy stage. We use the term “new leading lady” advisedly, for the Daly production will mark Miss Elsie’s first appearance in London as chief “star,” although she created the part of Lally in “The New Aladdin,” and played it until Miss Gertie Millar was able to take it up, and appeared with success in “The Chinese Honeymoon,” “Lady Madcap,” “The Little Michus,” “The Little Cherub,” and “See -See.”

The Sketch – Wednesday 22nd May 1907

March 5, 2023 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Lily Elsie, Social History, The Merry Widow, The Sketch, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lily Elsie – The Merry Widow – The Sketch – Wednesday 10th July 1907

February 25, 2023 Posted by | Actress, Daly's Theatre, Gabrielle Ray, Lily Elsie, Social History, The Merry Widow, The Sketch, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Edna May – The Belle Of New York by Sir John Lavery – 1907

February 4, 2023 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Belle of New York, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gabrielle Ray – Actresses’ Photos – The Yorkshire Evening News – Thursday 31st January 1907


 Fee of £2OO a Year Paid for Sittings.



Miss Gertie Millar’s statement that she never sits for her photograph without a fee suggested an interview which a “Daily Graphic” representative subsequently had with a man connected with the picture-postcard business.

“Yes,” said the expert, “it is a fact that the leading actresses won’t it without a fee nowadays. Until the picture postcards were introduced the photographer’s lot was a very happy one. Most actresses would grant him the favour of a sitting, and were quite agreeable if the photographer returned the compliment by presenting two or three dozen photographs. But when the picture postcards came along the popular actresses became more businesslike.


“Their fees for sitting vary. As a rule a photographer pays an actress so much a year for the exclusive right of taking and selling her photograph. I have known the fee to be as high as £2OO a year; in several cases it is £100 a year. For the fee the photographer gets only a certain number of sittings in the year, and so he makes the most of his opportunities at each sitting. I suppose at each sitting he would come away with forty or fifty different pictures, but not all of them would be passed by the subject. An actress who is older than she would like to be is very difficult to please, in plain English, she wants to look younger than she is, but the make-up mustn’t show.” “Who are the most popular subjects for picture postcards?”


“Miss Marie Studholme, Miss Gabrielle Ray, the Misses Dare, Miss Gertie Millar, Miss Camille Clifford are all very popular, but at times there is a “boom” in one particular picture. Miss Clifford’s engagement and marriage, for instance, sent up the sales of her photographs by thousands a week. You needn’t look surprised; there can’t be many fewer than a million picture postcards sold every week.



“When a favourite is on tour the sales of her photographs multiply by hundreds in every town she visits, and yet 1 don’t suppose that the most ardent collector of picture postcards has got a complete collection of the photographs of any one of the most popular actresses. There must be some five or six hundred different photographs of Miss Marie Studholme, for instance.



“Of course, having published photographs of the “stars,” a publisher has no difficulty in getting other subjects for nothing; in fact, unknown actresses often asked to be photographed for picture postcards. That does not pay, unless the actress so exceptionally beautiful that her photograph would sell without a name – and that very seldom happens.”

The Yorkshire Evening News – Thursday 31st January 1907


The Postcard Fiend – 1909

January 20, 2023 Posted by | Actress, Deltiology, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Amy Webster (Philco 3358 E) 1907


Amy Webster – The Sketch – 8th May 1907

January 9, 2023 Posted by | Actress, Amy Webster, Deltiology, Gabrielle Ray, Philco, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gabrielle Ray (F. Hartmann’s Greetings Series) Braintree

Posted from Will in Braintree, 2nd September 1907 to Miss Ada Livermore, 21 Station Street, Walton-on-Naze

December 29, 2022 Posted by | Actress, F.H.L. Hartmann, Gabrielle Ray, Hartmann, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gabrielle Ray – Greetings from old Ireland – 1907

December 8, 2022 Posted by | Actress, Deltiology, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gabrielle Ray MOTHER (Rotary 888 A)

November 16, 2022 Posted by | Actress, Deltiology, Gabrielle Ray, Rotary, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment