Grumpy old fart!!!

"If you talk to God you're religious. If God talks to you, you're psychotic."

Gabrielle Ray (Rotary 4820 D)


Gabrielle Ray (Rotary 4820 D) 1908

For those who have visited this blog over the past few months it will be quite obvious that I love old pictures and postcards that give us a brief glimpse into a past and forgotten age.

My interests vary from Maids, Nuns, religious dress and the more risqué images of the French Maid. Often when searching for a particular subject the boundaries cross and as well as true Maids we find Edwardian actresses dressed as Nuns or Maids. During one of my searches I came across Gabrielle Ray dressed as a Maid and was instantly captivated by her.

Collecting the individual cards isn’t enough; I like to know more about the individual, which is easier when that person is an actress, although often the information is scares.

Searching for information about Miss Ray I discovered that she was one of the most photographed women of the time; but sadly her success, if measured by being visibly working or in the public eye was short lived. She struggled with depression and alcohol abuse, and her health declined. In 1936, she suffered a complete mental breakdown and was institutionalized for nearly forty years; dying  in 1973 at Holloway Sanatorium at the age of 90.

My collection of Miss Ray, although small is growing and this is my favourite picture of her.

The photographer is able to manipulate the image through lighting, dress and expression. However there are times when, perhaps in an unguarded moment the subject is caught and the image produced conveys more than possibly intended. It may be that having read the final chapter of Miss Ray’s life, the heros, villians, plot and ultimate ending is known and so our own interpretation of a particular image becomes coloured. For me this image shows Miss Ray as thoughtful, reflective but more than that, there is a sadness shown in her eyes. Has the photoprapher caught a prophetic image of the future, do her eyes give us a hint of her sad future? Hopefully not. When I saw this card I knew that I had to have it regardless of the cost.

The post date is June 1908, Miss Ray would have been 21.

March 13, 2010 - Posted by | Deltiology, Gabrielle Ray, Maid, Maids, Servants, Social History | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. this is an great photo, and as you said, this photo shows so much emotion it’s amazing.

    Comment by Rincewind | March 14, 2010 | Reply


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