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Marie Effie (née Wilton), Lady Bancroft

(1839-1921), Actress and theatre manager; wife of Sir Squire Bancroft

Later Victorian Portraits Catalogue Entry

Sitter in 31 portraits
Actress and theatrical manager. Marie Effie Wilton was a performer from early childhood. First seen on the London stage in 1856 at the Lyceum where her talent for burlesque brought her wide acclaim; Charles Dickens described her as one of 'the cleverest girls I have ever seen on the stage'. With her husband Squire Bancroft (who she married in 1867) she became joint actor-manager of the Prince of Wales Theatre, where successes included Dion Boucicault's comedy London Assurance (1877). The company set new standards of production and raised the status of the acting profession. In 1880 they rebuilt the Haymarket Theatre introducing the first use of electric light on the English stage in Man and Wife.

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