Vesta Tilley(1864-1952), Music hall entertainer
Vesta Tilley (Matilda Alice (née Powles), Lady de Frece)
Sitter in 51 portraits
As a child, Tilley toured the music halls in a solo singing and dancing act. Finding she expressed herself better as a boy, she adopted male attire and, with songs such as Burlington Bertie, became the most successful male impersonator in the business. During the war she gave performances to promote recruitment and raise funds for wounded soldiers. Her songs, including Jolly Good Luck To The Girl Who Loves A Soldier and The Army Of Today's All Right, encouraged so many men to enlist that she was called 'England's Greatest Recruiting Sergeant'.
Watch a film clip on the sitter from the BBC Archive in the Media section below