The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

Lydia Thompson as 'Robinson Crusoe'

Lydia Thompson as 'Robinson Crusoe'

A carte-de-visite portrait of the burlesque actress Lydia Thompson, seen here as Robinson Crusoe, one of her most popular and successful roles. The actor playing Man Friday in blackface make-up is Willie Edouin (1846-1908).

Born in Brighton in 1846, Edouin began his career in London but moved to the States in 1869. In 1871 he joined Lydia Thompson's touring burlesque company the ‘British Blondes’ as its leading male comedian. Among many roles, he earned particular praise in Robinson Crusoe for his acrobatics and clowning as Friday, and in Bluebeard, for his portrayal of the ‘Chinaman’ Washee-Washee. He returned to England with Thompson in 1874 and continued to perform with the troupe both in London and on tour in Britain for three seasons.

Photographer unidentified but probably Mora of New York.

The carte is a cheap, pirated copy of an original, hence the relatively poor quality of the image.

Code: 123735
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