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J.S. Fry & Sons.
Chocolate box by J.S. Fry & Sons, with photograph of Lily Elsie.
Great Britain, ca. 1909.
Physical Description:
1 chocolate box ; 27 x 20 x 4 cm
Rare Books and Manuscripts
HD9200 .F79 1909 Flat
Yale Center for British Art, Friends of British Art Fund
Accessible by request in the Study Room [Request]
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Information
Related Content:
View catalog record for postcards of Lily Elsie
Three-Dimensional Artifacts
Fry's, along with Cadbury's, were the forerunners of advertised packaging, making the transfer from plain wooden boxes to decorated boxes in the 1860s, marketed especially around the holiday seasons. Boxes would be kept and reused for storing odds and ends, allowing the company's name to remain advertised around the home. The present design, with the lavish cloth upholstery incorporating the relatively expensive process of photography, represents the highest end of the market. See: Crystal, P. Chocolate: the British chocolate industry.
Despite a notorious shyness, Lily Elsie (1886-1962) was one of the most popular and most photographed actresses of the Edwardian era. Elsie first gained fame as a child star, playing Little Red Riding Hood in 1896. She went on to further success in The Merry Widow (1907) and The Count of Luxembourg (1911). Her beauty and charm were renowned: "[Lily Elsie's image] was seen on the popular picture postcards that arrived by almost every post, it appeared on chocolate and biscuit boxes, and newspaper and magazine advertisements proclaimed the sad wistfulness of her smile."--Cecil Beaton. See: Staging fashion, 1880-1920 : Jane Hading, Lily Elsie, Billie Burke. New York : Bard Graduate Center, 2012.
Chocolate box manufactured for J.S. Fry & Sons featuring a photograph of the actress Lily Elsie on the box top. The photograph is a hand-tinted gelatin silver print (14.2 x 9.8 cm), framed in an oval window of peach cloth edged with gold cord. This panel is mounted on a box top of pastel blue floral-patterned metallic paper, with gilt and silver borders, edged in tan velvet. The box is similarly finished in peach cloth with velvet rim. The underside of the lid bears the printed label of "J.S. Fry & Sons Limited, Bristol & London, Makers to H. M. The King."
The photograph depicts Lily Elsie in the role of Alice Conder from the English-language version of the musical The Dollar Princess. Elsie debuted in the role in September, 1909, at Daly's Theatre. The visible portion of the print bears no marks of identification, but it appears to be from a series of photographs of The Dollar Princess taken by Foulsham & Banfield and published by Rotary Photographic Co Ltd. Many images in this series, in the form of postcard prints, are in the collections of the National Portrait Gallery (UK).
Housed with the chocolate box are five postcards depicting Lily Elsie in various productions, including The Dollar Princess. See link provided herewith.
Subject Terms:
Actresses -- Great Britain.
Chocolate candy -- Great Britain.
Chocolate candy containers -- Specimens.
Chocolate industry -- Great Britain.
Elsie, Lily, 1886-1962 -- Portraits.
Fall, Leo, 1873-1925. Dollarprinzessin. English.
J.S. Fry & Sons.
Theater -- Great Britain.
Gelatin silver prints.
Chocolate boxes.
Foulsham & Banfield, photographer.
Rotary Photo.
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