Who were the Gibson Girls? #wwwblogs

The Gibson Girl was created by Charles Dana Gibson in his satirical illustrations from 1890 to 1910.  She represented an idealised, upper middle class, American girl.  She was feminine and athletic, independent and confident.  Her femininity was shown in her hair piled high on her head in soft pompadour style.  She was a “new woman” who worked outside the home, dressed in an elegant skirt and business-like blouse.  At leisure, she might wear a beach dress or a tennis dress but when socialising the new soft corset under her formal dress, showed off her generous bust and hips, hour-glassing from a tiny waist.

Love in a Garden

Charles Gibson originally took inspiration from his own sister Josephine Gibson and then from his wife Irene Langhorne and her sisters, who included Nancy Astor.  Subsequently, his model was Evelyn Nesbit, a young actress, whose life was later blighted when her mother allowed her to be used and abused by wealthy followers, resulting in a notorious murder trial involving her husband.

Camille Clifford

In the new century, a magazine contest was sponsored by Gibson to find a living version of his Gibson Girl drawings.  It was won by stage actress Camille Clifford.  Her figure and deportment demonstrated the perfect S shaped curve.  Born in Belgium, she appeared on stage in the United States and in England.  Having previously been a silent member of the chorus she now had a song written for her by Leslie Styles when she first appeared at the Lyceum Theatre in London in 1905.  Entitled, “Why do they call me a Gibson Girl,” it included this line,

“Wear a blank expression and a monumental curl
And walk with a bend in your back
Then they will call you a Gibson Girl.”

 Inevitably the life changes caused by the outbreak of the First World War, sent the Gibson Girls into oblivion.

For more about Camille Clifford

Who were the Gaiety Girls?

The Gaiety Theatre introduced a new style of musical comedy to London in the 1890s.  The group of female dancers employed by the theatre were called Gaiety Girls but as time went on this term was used to describe the stars of the shows too.  The formula was created by George Edwardes, moving away from burlesque to light comedies, with songs containing witty lyrics and repartee.  The heroines wore high fashion and sang catchy songs.

The Gaiety Theatre on the corner of Aldwych and the Strand

Many productions had “girl” in the title from The Gaiety Girl to The Shop Girl, The Circus Girl and A Runaway Girl. The actresses and dancers were well spoken ladies of respectable background and they attracted many fans, from the stage-door Johnnies to the young women who collected picture postcards of their favourite leading lady.  Many noble and wealthy men took the stars to dine at Romano’s restaurant in the Strand which added to their fame and made the restaurant a popular night spot.

Many well known Edwardian actresses owed their success to their performances as a Gaiety Girl.
Gertie Millar
 Gertie Millar made her name as a singer and dancer in Yorkshire music halls but in 1901 she was chosen by George Edwardes as leading lady in The Toreador at The Gaiety Theatre.  In Our Miss Gibbs she became the most famous musical comedy actress in Britain.  She later married the writer of this play, Lionel Monkton, but their marriage was unhappy and he left her in 1905.  He refused to divorce Gertie and so it was only when he died in 1924 that she was finally able to marry her lover William Humble Ward, the second Earl of Dudley.


Constance Collier, first appeared on stage at the age of 3 and became a Gaiety Girl when she was 15.  She grew much taller than the other dancers and had an exuberant personality.  She went on to become an acclaimed actress and with the advent of talking movies she turned to a career as a voice coach in Hollywood.

Olive May was one of the Gaiety girls who married into the aristocracy.  In 1913 she married Lord Victor Paget but they divorced in 1921.  A year later she married the Earl of Drogheda. She retired from the stage in 1912.  Some found marriages between actresses and peers amusing or romantic, but many disapproved.

For a fascinating contemporary comment on this go to Stage Beauty

Marie Studholme’s stage career lasted from 1891 until 1915.  Chosen by George Edwardes for a small part in The Gaiety Girl, she went on to tour in many of his productions around Britain and abroad.  She was a favourite for post card collectors. 

Pensthorpe Nature Reserve in Norfolk

 Pensthorpe Natural Park in Fakenham combines areas of woodland, wetland and farmland habitats. It was the location of BBC Springwatch from 2008 until 2010.  It is a wonderful place to spend the day, especially if you like birds.

 All photos by Peter L. Lloyd 2013

Norwegian Churches #Architecture #History

Three of the churches we visited in Norway


After a fire in 1904, almost the whole town and the church were rebuilt in three years due to the prosperity of the salt cod trade.

Frescoes by Enevoid Thomt in Alesund church

Window in Alesund church.  

The old church in Olden
was built in 1759 on the site of the old stave church.  It contains a Bible which was published in 1550 by Christian III.

Hat stands in each pew came from the previous church.

Doorway into a family pew which also came from the previous church.

The new church in Olden

Built in 1934
The organ
Inside the new church in Olden