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  • Place of origin:

    London (written)

  • Date:

    1899 (written)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Terry, Ellen (writer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Albumen print photograph and manuscript note

  • Credit Line:

    Gabrielle Enthoven Collection

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Ellen Terry was a famous Victorian performer, and was considered the leading Shakespearean actress in Britain of her time. This picture was an early kind of publicity shot, featuring Terry dressed in the role of Clarisse de Maluçon in Robespierreby Sardou. As a cabinet card, it was also a collectible. Terry had autographed it for her wigmaker, as a souvenir, and she attached a note to the photograph thanking him for the excellent work he had done making the wigs. As Terry is in costume in this picture, you can see the 'perfect' powdered hairpiece that she wore for her performance on stage at the Lyceum Theatre, in 1899.

Physical description

Sepia photograph of Ellen Terry in costume, with caption, autographed. Manuscript letter attached.

Place of Origin

London (written)


1899 (written)


Terry, Ellen (writer)

Materials and Techniques

Albumen print photograph and manuscript note

Marks and inscriptions

Lyceum Theatre - / Dear Mr Clarkson / The wigs have just / arrived - many thanks - / They are simply perfect! / Yours very ... / Ellen Terry / August 31 / 1899


Height: 33 cm, Width: 27 cm

Descriptive line

Photograph of Ellen Terry as Clarisse de Maulucon in Robespierre, signed and dedicated to the wigmaker, W. Clarkson, with an attached letter to Clarkson thanking him for the 'perfect' wigs.

Labels and date

Ellen Terry’s wig

In the note attached to her photograph, the famous Victorian actress Ellen Terry (1847–1928) thanks Mr Clarkson for some wigs he has made for her. Willy Clarkson’s wig-making company led the field in supplying wigs for theatres and society fancy dress balls.

To demonstrate the art of making a convincing wig, we showing a modern example kindly given by the costume house Angels the Costumiers.

Ellen Terry as Clarisse de Maluçon in Robespierre
Play by Victorien Sardou, 1899
Lyceum Theatre, London
About 1899
Card and photographic paper
Museum no. S.47-2008

Wig in preparation
Human hair on synthetic base
Made by Brian Peters of Angels The Costumiers, London
Given by Angels The Costumiers [March 2009]




Entertainment & Leisure


Theatre and Performance Collection

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