B0939. Charles E. Pearce. Madame Vestris and Her Times. London, Stanley Paul, 1923 (First Edition). 314pp. Index; Photos; illus. Excellent copy of this original edition has sl.stained covers - certainly worth re-binding.
“Lucia Elizabeth Vestris (January 1797 – 8 August 1856) was an English actress and a contralto opera singer, appearing in works by Mozart and Rossini. While popular in her time, she was more notable as a theatre producer and manager. In 1830, having accumulated a fortune from her performing, she leased the Olympic Theatre from John Scott. There she began presenting a series of burlesques and extravaganzas—for which she made this house famous. She produced numerous works by the contemporary playwright James Planché, with whom she had a successful partnership, in which he also contributed ideas for staging and costumes. In an age where women were denied autonomy, and brought up to believe they could not manage their own lives and their own money let alone run a businss employing hundreds of people including both men and women, Vestris was a business-woman par excellence. She was a trail-blazer - not only in the way she chose to live her life, but because she was not just her own boss, but literally the boss of hundreds of other people. She managed theatres; took plays on tour with a motley crew of actors, actresses and all the support staff, and married again only after her disastrous early experience with Vestris when the American authorities forced her to do so in order to allow her to bring her tour across their borders. Lucia Elizabeth Vestris was a prominent figure indeed in the history of British theatre and customs in the nineteenth century.”
- Z. D. Akron