The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

Lydia Foote

Lydia Foote

A carte-de-visite portrait of the English actress Lydia Foote. The following paragraph is her entry in The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography:

‘Foote, Lydia [real name Lydia Alice Legg] (1843–1892), actress, born on 8 May 1843 at 8 Tavistock Street, London, was the daughter of Arthur Wellington Legg, a coach builder, and his wife, Sarah Judith Legg, née Goward, and a niece of the actress Mary Ann Keeley. According to a contemporary writer, Clement Scott, she took the name Foote because ‘she preferred a foot to a leg’. She made her début at the Lyceum on 1 April 1852 as Edward, a child, in A Chain of Events, by Charles Mathews and Slingsby Lawrence. At the age of sixteen she played Amanthis in Elizabeth Inchbald's The Child of Nature, but she did not make any particular impression, although she was already regarded as beautiful. She later appeared at Sadler's Wells, at the Victoria, and at Manchester, and made her first appearance at the Olympic on 31 August 1863, replacing Kate Saville as May Edwards in Tom Taylor's The Ticket-of-Leave Man. She played original roles—Enid Gryffydd in The Hidden Hand.. and Miss Hargrave in Settling Day, both by Taylor—and enhanced her reputation with Maria in Twelfth Night, Clara Vernon in Wilkie Collins's Frozen Deep, and, her great triumph, Esther Eccles in T. W. Robertson's Caste in 1867. Further original parts followed, notably as Lady Selina Raffleticket in Boucicault's How she Loves him and as Amanda in Robertson's Play. She played twin sisters in H. J. Byron's Blow for Blow, the lead in his Minnie, and the heroine of Robertson's Progress. Thereafter she appeared at the Holborn, the Gaiety, the Prince of Wales's, the Princess's, and the Adelphi, where she was Smike in Nicholas Nickleby in March 1875. She was much in demand for original roles and was the first Anna in Lord Newry's The Danischeffs (1877) and the first Midge in Boucicault's Rescued (1879). During the next two years she created further original parts in O'Dowd and in Pluck. She also took part in many revivals at the Adelphi. Her acting was said to be possessed of remarkable pathos. She died of cancer at 18 Osborne Road, St Peter's, Ramsgate, on 30 May 1892 and was buried at Kensal Green cemetery, London.’

Photographed by Elliott and Fry of 55, Baker Street, London.


Code: 123662
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