A carte-de-visite portrait of the popular burlesque actor John Clarke, seen her in a splendid costume suggesting Spain or the pampas. A pencilled inscription verso, possibly in a later hand, identifies the role and/or production as âe~Don Giovanniâe(tm).
The following paragraphs are taken from Clarkeâe(tm)s entry in The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography :
âe~In early life he established himself in Farringdon Street, London, as a photographer, but soon gave up this employment to become a general utility actor in various provincial theatres. His London dÃ©but consisted of a brief appearance at the Strand Theatre under Allcroft's management in January 1852 as Master Toby in John Wilkins's Civilisation . He followed this in October with Fathom in Sheridan Knowles's The Hunchback at Drury Lane , but the speculative season, to which he owed this engagement, soon came to an end, and he returned to the provinces. In September 1855 he reappeared at the Strand as principal comedian.
âe~Clarke's first distinct success was won in burlesque, a line in which his reputation was established by his performance of Ikey the Jew in Leicester Buckingham's travesty Belphegor in September 1856. At Christmas 1857 he was engaged for the pantomime at Drury Lane, but he returned to... read more