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.
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.
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.
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).
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:
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!