Winifred Emery (1862-1924)

February 21, 2009 by: admin

THE GOLDEN AGE OF THEATRE (1880-1920)

Winifred Emery was born in Manchester. Hers was a theatrical family – her father, grandfather and great-grandfather had all been eminent actors. She made her first stage appearance in 1870, at the age of eight.

In 1881, she became a member of  Henry Irving’s company. She toured the United States with him. Her parts included Marissa and Jessica in The Merchant of Venice and Olivia in Twelfth Night.

(signed postcard, matt, Rotophot, 0304, c.1905)

(signed postcard, Aristophot, E511, c. 1908

In 1890, she joined Wilson Barrett’s company. Among her many appearances, she was the leading lady in The People’s Idol (Barrett and Victor Wendell) that opened on December 4, 1890 at the New Olympic Theatre; and, at the same theatre, in April, 1891, she played Ophelia to Barrett’s Hamlet.

By the time she starred in The New Woman at the Comedy Theatre in 1894, she was considered to be one of the most talented and exciting female actors of the period. In January 1895, Aubrey Beardsley’s portrait of her appeared in the fourth volume of The Yellow Book.

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As Margery Armstrong in
The New Woman,
Comedy Theatre,
November 29, 1894
Poster for
The New Woman
‘Portrait of
Miss Winifred Emery’
by Aubrey Beardsley,
1895
Click to enlarge
From 1896 to 1905, most of her appearances were with Cyril Maude, her husband, at the Theatre Royal where he was the actor-manager.

Emery2.jpg (42524 bytes)

As Lady Bobbie in
The Little Minister,
Theatre Royal,
November 6, 1897 –
Click to enlarge

After the Theatre Royal had closed in 1904 for restructuring, she did return to Shakespeare, her parts including Beatrice in Beerbohm Tree’s Much Ado About Nothing (1905), Lydia Languish in The Rivals (1906) and Mistress Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor (1908). After this, she made few other stage appearances.
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As Kate Hardcastle in
She Stoops to Conquer,
Theatre Royal,
January 9, 1900
As Lydia Languish in
The Rivals,
Theatre Royal,
March 27, 1906
Click to enlarge

Winifred Emery died in 1924.

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