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Later Victorian Portraits Catalogue

Emilie Charlotte ('Lillie') Langtry (née Le Breton) (1853-1929), Actress and professional beauty

Professional beauty, actress and racehorse owner; born Emilie Le Breton, St Saviour’s, Jersey, 13 October 1853. Married Edward Langtry 1874; relationships with Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) 1877–80, Prince Louis Battenberg 1880–81 and Frederic Gebhard 1882–92; widowed 1897; married (Sir) Hugo de Bathe 1899, becoming Lady de Bathe 1907; London stage debut with Squire and Marie Bancroft’s company 1881; toured with own company in United States 1882–9, performing in UK until 1914; racehorse owner from 1889; died Monte Carlo, Monaco, 12 February 1929.

‘Possessing in a marked degree every feminine charm’, in the words of one professional colleague, ‘she was at the same time possessed of an iron will power, immense courage and a gift of instant decision.’ [1] According to Sir John Lavery, whom she met in 1889, [2] her charm included the ability to make him (and presumably others) ‘feel I was one of the most interesting people she had met for years’. [3]


Dr Jan Marsh

Footnotesback to top

1) Michael 1928, p.138.
2) See ‘All Known Portraits, In stage character, Bacchante, 1889’.
3) Lavery 1940, p.172.

Referencesback to top

Aronson 2004
Aronson, T., ‘Langtry, Lillie (1853–1929)’, ODNB, Oxford, 2004; online ed., May 2008.

Attwood 1992
Attwood, P., Artistic Circles: The Medal in Britain 1880–1918, exh. cat., British Museum, London, 1992.

Beaton 1930
Beaton, C., The Book of Beauty, London, 1930.

Beaton 1957
Beaton C., The Face of the World: An International Scrapbook of People and Places, London, 1957.

Beatty 1999
Beatty, L., Lillie Langtry: Manners, Masks and Morals, London, 1999.

Bills & Knight 2006
Bills, M., and V. Knight, eds, William Powell Frith: Painting the Victorian Age, London, 2006.

Birkett & Richardson 1979
Birkett, J., and J. Richardson, Lillie Langtry: Her Life in Words and Pictures, Poole, 1979.

De Montfort 2017
D. Montfort, P., Louise Jopling: A Biographical and Cultural Study of the Modern Woman Artist in Victorian Britain, Abingdon, 2017.

Downey & Downey 1890–94
Downey, W., and D. Downey, The Cabinet Portrait Gallery: Photographs by W. & D. Downey, 5 ser., London, 1890–94.

Furniss 1923
Furniss, H., Some Victorian Women: Good, Bad and Indifferent, London, 1923.

Gaunt 1972
Gaunt, W., The Restless Century: Painting in Britain 1800–1900, London, 1972.

Gosling 1976
Nigel Gosling, Nadar, London, 1976.

Jopling 1925
Jopling, L., Twenty Years of My Life, 1867 to 1887, London, 1925.

Langtry 1925
Langtry, L., The Days I Knew, London, 1925.

Lavery 1940
Lavery, J., The Life of a Painter, London, 1940.

Mancoff 2003
Mancoff, D., Flora Symbolica: Flowers in Pre-Raphaelite Art, London, 2003.

Mander & Mitchenson 1957
Mander, R., and J. Mitchenson, A Picture History of the British Theatre, London, 1957.

Michael 1928
Michael, E., Tramps of a Scamp, London, 1928.

Millar 1995
Millar, D., The Victorian Watercolours and Drawings in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen, 2 vols, London, 1995.

Porter 1973
Porter, H.T., Lillie Langtry: The ‘Jersey Lily’, exh. leaflet, Jersey Museum, St Helier, 1973.

Rose 1981
Rose, A., Pre-Raphaelite Portraits, Yeovil, Somerset, 1981.

Snow 1975
Snow, C.P., Trollope, London, 1975.

Stevens 2002
Stevens, P., Dictionary of Painters of the Channel Islands, St Ouen, Jersey, 2002.

Trumble 2001
Trumble, A., Love and Death: Art in the Age of Queen Victoria, exh. cat., Adelaide, Art Gallery of South Australia and tour, 2001–2.

Warner 1979
Warner, M., Sir John Everett Millais Commemorative Exhibition, exh. cat., Jersey, 1979.

Whyte 1898
Whyte, F., Actors of the Century: A Play-Lover’s Gleanings from Theatrical Annals, London, 1898.

Wildman & Christian 1998
Wildman, S., and J. Christian, Edward Burne-Jones: Victorian Artist–Dreamer, exh. cat., Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1998.

Wood 1976
Wood, C., Victorian Panorama: Paintings of Victorian Life, London, 1976.

Wood 2006
Wood, C., William Powell Frith: A Painter & His World, Stroud, Glos., 2006.