Recently added these two 1890’s era photographs to my collection of Egyptiana items. The photos depict famous actresses Lily Langtry and Sarah Bernhardt in their respective poses and costumes as Cleopatra. I was fascinated…I think these ladies are wearing a lot more layers of clothing than the actual Cleopatra probably had on in the hot weather in the land of the Pharaohs LOL.
Lily Langtry was talked into becoming an actress by Oscar Wilde and of course for a time she was the mistress of the Prince of Wales Albert Edward (later Edward VII). There seemed to be quite a few members of the nobility and the extremely wealthy gentlemen in her timeline. She was very involved in thoroughbred horse racing, owned a winery, may have been the inspiration for a character in Sherlock Holmes – in short, besides her acting, she led a most fascinating life!
Sarah Bernhardt (photo below, R) was known as “The Divine Sarah” and she too has princes and nobles in her timeline, as well as artists and inventors. She took up painting and sculpting herself in later years. She appeared in a motion picture in 1900 and went on to star in a few more movies during the early years of Hollywood. She lost her right leg as the result of an injury suffered onstage but continued to perform for the rest of her life and for the most part refused to wear a prosthetic limb. I’m sure she too was never boring!
Lily and Sarah were of course performing the Shakespeare play Antony and Cleopatra, not doing a big screen sword and sandal epic like Elizabeth Taylor in more modern time.
And here are two statues from the Cleopatra Exhibit I attended last year, which were recovered from the sunken city of Heracleion and are believed to be from Cleopatra’s time. The curators of the Exhibit suggested that the second statue may have been Cleopatra herself, but what they based that upon, I have no idea.