The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

The Circassian Violinists or Musical Albinos

The Circassian Violinists or Musical Albinos

A carte-de-visite portrait of two albino girls holding violins.

During the late 1860s and early 1870s, there was a brief vogue for ‘Circassian Violinists’ and ‘Musical Albinos’. A brother and sister called Oscar and Katrina Glinka enjoyed a moderate success but I think the two girls seen here must be the ‘two youthful Circassian violinists, whose surprisingly clever performances delight[ed] large audiences nightly’ at the Birmingham Concert Hall in 1869. A few years later, in 1874, a report in The Era mentioned that ‘Arnena and Lily, the two Circassian violinists’ had given three concerts at the Town Hall in Birmingham.

Photographed by the London Stereographic and Photographic Company.


Code: 122754
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© Paul Frecker 2019