Saturday, May 25, 2013

Drawing of the Day: George Cooke's Vesta Victoria, 1904

Vesta Victoria
November, 1904
George Cooke
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Regular readers of this site are familiar with Music Hall star Vesta Victoria’s work. The singer and performer was born in Leeds in 1874, and joined her famous father on stage at an early age. Vesta’s father was known as “The Upside-Down Comedian” because he sang songs while standing on his head.

Vesta’s first independent success was in 1893 with her hit song, “
Daddy Wouldn’t Buy Me a Bow Wow.” She soon became a star both in the U.K. and the U.S. and had a repertoire of popular songs which included “Waiting at the Church.”

Regular readers also know the caricature work of George Cooke whose albums of drawings of famous Edwardian Music Hall stars are preserved in the V&A. This one depicts Vesta Victoria as she looked while performing at Collins’ Hippodrome, Stoke-on-Trent, during the week of November 7, 1904. During this period she was was billed as “England’s Brightest and Best Comedienne.”

The work of pen, ink and wash on pink paper depicts Vesta Victoria wearing a white hat with blue and red striped band, a blue jacket with white collar and gloves. She holds a parasol in her right hand.

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