Sarah Bernhardt Melandri, Achille  (French, 1845-1905)

Although not strictly a photographic periodical, The Theater was the first British monthly to be illustrated with mounted Woodburytype portraits from life. Among the photographic studios employed were The St. James’s Photographic Company, Barraud, Falk, W. & D. Downey, Elliot and Fry.

Sarah Bernhardt was the stage name of Rosine Bernard (1845-1923), the French actress who dominated the stage of her day. She was neither the most beautiful nor the most talented, but she skilfully cultivated her super-stardom, performing at the Comédie Française in Paris and frequently touring the world. A shameless self-publicist throughout her long career, Sarah Bernard was photographed time and again by all the best photographers in the world, invariably demanding to be paid up front, rather than accepting a percentage of the profits. At the same time, of course, she was wielding photography to foster her fame, skilfully manipulating her public image. As famous a personality as she was an actress, the public were avid for details of her temper tantrums and her violent feuds, not to mention her many love affairs. [1].

Reproduced / Exhibited

National Portrait Gallery, London NPG Ax129599

Beaton, Cecil, and Gail Buckland. The Magic Image: The Genius of Photography. London: Pavilion, 1989. p. 292 (sarah bernhardt)

Hanson, David A, and Sidney Tillim. Photographs in Ink: [exhibition], May 1-29, 1996, University College Art Gallery, Teaneck. Teaneck: NJ, 1996. plate 15,

Michel Frizot, A New History of Photography, Konemann, Koln, 1998, pg 11


[1] cited 1/11/23