Lillie Langtry, the Jersey-born actress sometimes referred to as ‘the Jersey Lily’, was born on 13 October 1853 at the Old Rectory in the Island’s parish of St Saviour. Her acting career offered her a variety of roles, some of which are commemorated within this stamp issue, marking 100 years since she retired from the stage.
Lillie made her first appearance on stage in 1881 as Lady Clara in an amateur production of A Fair Encounter at Twickenham Town Hall. It seems she found her first acting experience quite daunting, initially forgetting her lines, but Lillie was persuaded back on stage and she made her debut before the London public as Kate Hardcastle in Oliver Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer at the Haymarket Theatre. It was not until 1891, aged 37, that Lillie made her first appearance in a Jersey theatre, The Theatre Royal. Sadly the theatre was destroyed by fire in 1899 but a new theatre was soon built in its place and Lillie opened The Opera House, on 9 July 1900, performing in its first play, Sydney Grundy’s The Degenerates.
Eight stamps and a Miniature Sheet feature photographs of Lillie in some of her many acting roles:
49p pink Kate Hardcastle in She Stoops to Conquer
49p lilac Blanche Hayes in Ours
63p olive Rosalind in As You Like It
63p pink Hester Grazebrook in An Unequal Match
73p Mademoiselle Mars in Mademoiselle Mars
79p Lena Despard in As in a Looking-Glass
90p Lady Macbeth in Macbeth
£1.07 Pauline in The Lady of Lyons
The Miniature Sheet features a photograph of Lillie as Cleopatra in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra.