Digital Transgender Archive

R. Bertin in character as Mademoiselle Foscolo. Photographic postcard, ca. 1910.

Mr. Bertin imitation de Melle. Foscolo excentrique. R. Bertin (signature)

Download the full-sized image of R. Bertin in character as Mademoiselle Foscolo. Photographic postcard, ca. 1910.

Robert Bertin was a skilled impersonator of some of the most stars of the French popular theatre. Here he is in drag wearing a flowery dress and holding a perfume spray-bottle in the character of Mlle. Foscolo. She was (judging from the costume ) a showgirl/dancer, now obscure, but at the time apparently famous enough to attract imitation from one of the best-known female impersonators of the day. The outfit is spectacular: ahe short flouncy 'soubrette's' dress is encrusted with sequin and beadwork embroidery; at the throat a seven-row pearl choker and a gem-set collar with drops, rings on every finger, and a bizarre hat with cascading silk flower trim and two feet long pheasant feathers. Despite its early date, this is very much the kind of over-the-top dressing that came to be associated with drag and drag queens much later in the century (James Gardiner)

Part of James Gardiner Collection: photograph album labelled ‘Drag’.

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Item Information:

Identifier
v118rd771
Collection
James Gardiner 20th Century Drag Postcards
Institution
Wellcome Library
Date Issued
Jan. 1, 1910
Genre
Photographs
Prints
Topic(s)
Female impersonators
Resource Type
Still Image
Analog Format
1 photograph : photoprint ;
Rights
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