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Welcome to Prospero's Blog! My wife Mollie and I work together in our Rough Magic studio on the coast of Maine. I've always loved old books, memorabilia, curiosities and Americana (especially 19th century dramatic literature) and am happy to share my discoveries in my Etsy Shops. Please come by and browse ~ there's just no telling what you'll find!

March 4, 2012

Minnie Maddern Fiske - Print of Portrait by Ernest Haskell

Minnie Maddern Fiske - Print of Portrait by Ernest Haskell
Look who turned up!

Going through some of my theatrical memorabilia yesterday, I got a fine surprise when I saw what I thought was a plain piece of card stock peeking out from between two antiquarian books. Giving it a gentle tug, so as not to damage the adjacent book covers, I found myself holding something I'd long given up for lost - this beautiful vintage print from 1940!

The lovely lady shown in profile is Minnie Maddern Fiske, the fiery actress whose star blazed across the late 19th and early 20th century American stage.

With her luxuriant red hair and twinkling blue eyes, Mrs. Fiske (nee Marie Augusta Davey, 1865-1932) enchanted theatre audiences - from her debut in Little Rock at the age of three, playing the Duke of York in Richard III, through her last role in the 1930 production of It's a Grand Life.

A champion of Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906), she produced and performed in a number of his plays, including A Doll's HouseHedda Gabler and Ghosts

Always a fierce advocate for artistic freedom, the fought against the powerful monopoly of the Theatrical Syndicate and for several years performed in small venues including churches and skating rinks. 

Mrs. Fiske was also a crusader against cruelty to animals and a political activist, working against the Prohibition Amendment and for Alfred Smith's campaign in the Presidential Election of 1928.

Printed on sturdy cream colored card stock (13-1/2" tall  x 10" wide), the portrait is mostly black with hints of light pink and peach. The American artist Ernest Haskell (1876-1925) was a self taught illustrator and print maker, best known for his ornate drawings and landscapes.

Beneath Mrs. Fiske's face is a small logo and the words "Drawn by Ernest Haskel [sic]" with "1940" in tiny numbers beneath.

This collectible antiquarian print is in very good condition for its 72 years. The card stock is worn, with some discoloration at the edges and on the back. 

View Minnie in my shop:

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