I wondered what Mrs Jarley's Waxworks was and discovered its name comes from the character in Charles Dickens' Old Curiosity Shop, proprietor of a travelling waxworks who employs Nell and her Grandfather. This name was taken when theatrical groups, mainly amateur, dressed up and performed as waxworks with one of them appearing as Mrs Jarley, and others appearing as her assistants. I notice on this photo that Mrs Jarley was played in the great British dame tradition by a man and imagine the clowns were her assistants. The 'waxworks' appeared on stage in groups. Each one was described in a humorous way by Mrs Jarley and was then wound up and oiled by the assistants to perform words and/or music. Such 'waxwork' shows were popular in late Victorian and the early 20th Century in both Britain and America, where we will journey to a smaller cast appearing on
an artotype made by Albert Bierstadt from one of his many Adirondack photographs which I found on the Adirondack Museum site.
"The image shows men and women posed on a makeshift stage in the parlour of the Prospect House in Blue Mountain Lake, New York. A number of well-dressed men and women sit in chairs facing the stage. The hotel's chandelier hangs in front of the valance curtain. Prospect House was situated at the foot of Blue Mountain, on a point of land jutting out into Blue Mountain Lake". The six-story, 300-room Prospect House opened in 1882. It had many modern conveniences that other hotels in the area did not have, such as a steam-powered elevator".
An entry to Sepia Saturday