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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Carlotta Edwards


Swan Lake

Carlotta Edwards (1894 - 1977) was the daughter of the French painter Ferdinand Pourrier.  She is well know for her paintings of ballet scenes and exhibited at both the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and the Paris Salon.  The Medici Society published many pints of her work and these are still widely available.


Le Cynge

In the 1950's framed copies of Carlotta Edward's prints were very popular.  Large consignments of these must have been shipped to the Dominion countries.  When I search for copies of specific prints for sale most are found in Australia or New Zealand.  I have also come across some in South Africa which is where my original pictures would have been bought.  Besides being framed as pictures, Carlotta Edwards ballet scenes can be found on a wide range of items from place mats to trays.

Le Cygne


Recently I've heard these prints described as 'retro kitsch' (meant in the nicest possible way).  I know they have a chocolate box appeal but I love them as they capture the spirit and beauty of ballet that I remember from childhood.

Finding these prints again is for me another example of the awesome power of the internet.  I had forgotten all about them and stumbled across an image of L'Aiglon by accident while I was searching for copies of Child's Ballet Book to Colour and the Watkins Strathmore Ballet Colouring Book.  Discovering something I was not expecting to find had a tremendous emotional impact as it took me straight back to the time when these pictures were a part of my life. 


L'Aiglon

When I was very young two Carlotta Edward's prints hung in my bedroom - L'Aiglon (shown above) and Margot Fonteyn as Giselle (shown below).  We lived just outside Durban on the KwaZulu Natal coast (South Africa).  When I was 7 my father decided to take up a job offer in Johannesburg.  My parents must have been quite restricted about what they could take with them.  Many things I remember from early childhood did not come with us and these included my Carlotta Edward's pictures that were either given away or binned.

*** A very Big Thank You to Kylie from Lucy Violet Vintage who very kindly sent me a copy of L'Aiglon after seeing this post.  You can see the print in its new home here. ***


Margot Fonteyn as Giselle

I still want to replace L'Aiglon but unfortunately the copies I've found for sale (in Australia) are too prohibitive when it comes to postage.  Through my own stupidity I have already missed one bid on eBay in the UK by losing track of the time finding the auction was over when I went to try and buy it!

I was able to get a copy of the Margot Fonteyn picture last year.  I'm afraid my example of it (shown above) is not very good.  Even though it is A4 size I couldn't scan it because of the glass and my camera is not very good at taking pictures like this.  From memory my original copy of this picture was a calendar.  There was a small block of pages at the bottom that could be torn off and they were held on with a dark blue satin ribbon.  I would guess the copy I have now started off in the same way and that people framed them once the year was over (It would have been sometime in the early 60's).


Giselle

I have also bought the print of Giselle (shown above) as I think it was the first picture by Carlotta Edwards that I ever saw.  One of my aunt's had two prints in her bedroom (this was one of them).  I loved them and my mother probably bought L'Aiglon for me as a result.

Below are some more examples of Carlotta Edward's work.  All of these are available as Medici prints:


Giselle

La Valse

Swan Lake

Swan Lake

The Nutcracker

Les Sylphide

When I was this age ballet was the most important thing in my life.  I probably wasn't all that good but I was convinced I was going to be the next Margot Fonteyn (at that age anything is possible!)  I've mentioned before that I had to give dancing up at the age of 12 due to medical reasons, but at this time of my life my dream was to somehow get to England and join the Sadler's Wells Ballet School (there were lots of books set there at the time that I read!)


Me - 1960's

Recently I discovered that my mom kept all my ballet certificates and reports.  It was quite amazing finding and reading them again.  The exams were quite tough (I can still remember them - and how we had to have special new pink satin ballet shoes for the occasion).  We went in on our own even when I was still quite small.  They must have been quite strict because together with the certificates (like the one below) was a full report and there wasn't all that much praise - more a detailed set of notes of what was not perfect!  





18 comments:

Roger Lawrence said...

I'm not overly keen on ballet, but Carlotta does have a way of communicating elegant movement. Really quite beautiful.

Kylie said...

I love little Sharon in her tutu. Sweet. I was too clumsy and unco to do ballet, but I dreamt of twirling and wearing my hair in a bun. Both of my daughters danced - the oldest was very good, but at 17gave it away. Anyway, I have two L'Aiglon prints, gathering dust in my shed. One of them is yours Sharon, if you'd like it. I'd love to give it a nice new home. I'll need your address again though...
Hope you are well x

Darlene Foster said...

These pictures are delightful but my favourite is you in your ballet outfit. So sweet!

Sharon Souter said...

Thanks for your comments Roger and Darlene - I always enjoy getting them!

Kylie - you are an absolute sweetheart! I'll be sending you an email.

Barbara said...

These are really pretty! I had dreams of being a ballerina too, but I was far too clumsy and had (have) two left feet!
Regarding missing things on eBay, there is a service called HammerSnipe where you set up bids sometime before the end of the auction, that way you don’t forget. There used to be a free service and a pay service, but that may have changed. I’m sure a search on Google would find it.

Sharon Souter said...

I haven't heard about HammerSnipe Barbara - thanks for the suggestion - I'll check it out!

Donna Heber said...

Hi Sharon,

Gorgeous prints by Carlotta! How nice to see you were a little ballerina :-)

Donna Yates said...

I love Ballet paintings, and these are adorable. I love her Giselle one.
I took Ballet for years too, and absolutely loved it. What a fun discovery for you.

Leigh said...

I also have one of her prints - it is the one of Giselle, Act II, It was originally given to my Mother by her ballet teacher for her 21st birthday present in 1962. They lived in Bulawyo in what was then known as Rhodesia.
We all now live in Cape Town.
I am an amateur artist and am going to try and paint that picture as it has always been one I love - hopefully I can learn something from Carlotta.

Sharon Souter said...

Hi Donna H and Donna Y - always love to hear from both of you. I often wonder if little girls are still so keen about ballet today!

Very glad you visited and left a comment Leigh (I also lived in Cape Town for just under 10 years and met my husband there!) I'd be interested to see your painting if you ever do it!

Nora said...

Thanks so much Sharon for sharing the prints and your story. I too wanted to be a ballerina and had dreams of joining the San Francisco Ballet as that was were we were living at the time. When we moved to a smaller town I had to give up my dream as they didn't have a ballet school and Mom just didn't have the money for the class when they did eventually have one.
I still love Ballet and must get one of these prints. My favorite Ballet? Giselle I still tear up at the end of the performance.

Wendy Beveridge said...

As a young girl I often spent weekends at an aunt and uncles house. I remember l'saigon in my bedroom. As I got older I stopped staying and only visited for the day so never had mind to go updates. Recently my husband's grandmother passed away and we brought home a picture as a keepsake which I wanted to reframe. Imagine my surprise when I found the same print I used to have on my wall as a child 40 years earlier. It now stands proudly on my knowledge reminding me of my childhood and the grandmother I miss very much

Anonymous said...

If i had a giselle signed how much would it be worth ?

Sharon Souter said...

If it is a print like the one I have in this post I paid £15 (sterling) for it in its original frame. The original painting was signed so the print is 'signed' as well. I've seen it on offer in Australia with an asking price of between 50 and 60 Australian dollars but I don't know if there are ever any takers. These prints have great sentimental value for a lot of people like me but there are still quite a lot of them out there (on eBay, Trade Me etc) so the prices they realise are not that high. I have also seen a couple of original Carlotta Edwards paintings for sale - usually oils and not her better known work - they ranged between £1000 - £3000 (sterling) but again I don't know if they ever sold or were eventually withdrawn.

Clare Ryzy said...

hi thier recentley clearing out my attic i came across this picture margot fontein in les sylphides by c.edwards
serail number 1891 it was my great grandmothers i had left to me a few years ago , can anyone twll me if its of any value many thanks for reading

Lynda Bartlett said...

I have a vintage Carlotta Edwards Giselle print framed just wondering how much they are going for ?

Lynda Bartlett said...

Hello?

Victor Freire said...

I have a vintage print of Nocturn (Les Sylphides) nr 948 by Carltta Edwards.

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