The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

Kate Love

Kate Love

A carte-de-visite portrait of the actress Kate Love.

Born in Dublin in or about 1854, Kate was the daughter of the successful 'public lecturer and polyphonist' (impressionist) William Edward Love (1806-1867) whose career came to an end in 1858 when he suffered a series of strokes. His wife Eliza became a lodging house keeping and in 1867, the year her father died, Kate made her stage debut in a production at the St James's Theatre. In July 1871 she appeared in the first English production of Offenbach's La Belle Hélène at the Gaiety. Her career, however, was short-lived. On 22 November 1871 at St Clement Danes she married middle-class merchant Lewis Grant Watson and retired from the stage for good. The couple lived briefly at Folkestone in Kent before returning to London and settling in Fulham Road. Kate bore four children between 1873 and 1882. Her second child, Mabel, born in 1874, became a much-photographed beauty who enjoyed a long and successful theatrical career.

The 1901 census shows a widowed Kate 'living on [her] own means' with her two daughters, Kate and Blanche, both actresses, and two servants at 161 Buckingham Palace Road in Victoria. In 1911 she was living with daughter Blanche and a cook and a housemaid at 17 Royal Avenue in Chelsea. She died in Chelsea on 20 October 1919, at the age of 65. She left effects valued at £1394.

Photographed by Elliott and Fry of London.

Code: 126328
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