Mary Anderson Plays Macbeth in Broadway

American Actress Mary Anderson takes to the Stage in the Lifford Memorial Hall, Broadway

Fundraiser for the Relief of Belgian Artists

100 years ago today, during the afternoon of Tuesday 27th August 1918, the Lifford Memorial Hall in the Cotswold village of Broadway was full to capacity for an afternoon of music and drama arranged by Mary Anderson de Navarro in aid of the Fund for the Relief of Belgian Artists. The relief fund was established to ensure that individuals and families who remained in Belgium during the First World War would receive money but it also ensured that those who had sought refuge in the United Kingdom would be well looked after.

Performance of Macbeth at the Lifford Memorial Hall

Mary Anderson de Navarro
Mary Anderson de Navarro

The event was arranged by the ‘celebrity’ American stage actress and Broadway resident, Mary Anderson de Navarro. During the First World War, Mary Anderson carried out a number of fund-raising performances in London, Stratford-upon-Avon, Worcester and Evesham and this performance of Macbeth in Broadway met with great acclaim.

Fellow American opera singer Murray-Davey (who lived at Willersey House in the nearby village of Willersey) helped organise the event. The first half included performances of Ede Poldini’s La poupée valsante and Ange Flegier’s Le Cor and pieces by Brahms and Bach performed by a string quartet; Messrs. Désiré Defauw, Lionel Tertis, Emile Dochard and Harold Samuel. Instrumentalists included Lady Sykes and Lady Maud Bowes-Lyon (also a resident of Broadway and Aunt of HRH Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother).

Edward Hugh Southern
Edward H. Southern

The second half included scenes from Macbeth with Mary Anderson as Lady Macbeth and the American Shakespearean actor Edward Hugh Sothern, who specialised in dashing, romantic leading roles, as Macbeth. They were supported by Miss Hare, Shakespearean actor and director Sir Philip Barling ‘Ben’ Greet, Mary’s son Lieut. ‘Toty’ de Navarro and the English actor Sir John Hare.

Broadway’s Artistic Heritage

Broadway was fashionable amongst artists at the time and had been since the late 1880s when the sleepy picturesque Cotswold village had attracted a number of English and American artists, writers, painters, musicians (the ‘Broadway Colony’).  John Singer Sargent, Francis Millet, Edwin Austin Abbey, Alfred Parsons and Henry James (to name just a few) gave Broadway its artistic heritage that visitors today continue to enjoy and is celebrated biennially by the Broadway Arts Festival.

Broadway Manor Cottages

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John Singer Sargent RA

John Singer Sargent and Broadway

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) was the most celebrated portrait painter of the Edwardian age. Although born in Florence, Italy, to expatriate American parents, Sargent has a number of links with Broadway and the Cotswolds.

Sargent’s talent was noticed and nurtured by Carolus-Duran who introduced him to the Parisian art scene. Sargent fled Paris in early 1885, after exhibiting Madame X, his sensual portrait of Mme Gautreau, a noted society beauty, which caused a great scandal.

Sargent travelled to England and paid his first visit to Broadway in the late summer of 1885 to recuperate from a bad head wound he had received whilst diving from a weir near Pangbourne. Sargent had been invited to Broadway by fellow American painter Edwin Austin Abbey. Whilst in Broadway, Sargent became a member of the American colony of artists, the ‘Broadway Colony’, who were living in the village at the time. Sargent socialised with fellow Americans artists and writers including Francis Davis Millet and it is in the gardens of Farnham House and Russell House on the village green where Millet was living at the time that Sargent painted Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose the title lifted from the light-hearted lyrics of a popular song. The painting is a true example of Impressionist en plein air painting. It took numerous sunsets to complete and even during its conception provoked much discussion, amusement, involvement and encouragement from his circle of friends, the ‘Broadway Colony’.

Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose was purchased for the nation and now hangs in the Tate in London. In his lifetime Sargent was elected a full member of the Royal Academy in 1897 and he painted over 500 portraits and more than 1000 landscapes along with celebrated murals at the Boston Public Library, the Museum of Fine Art and the Widener Memorial at Harvard.

The biennial Broadway Arts Festival celebrates Broadway’s artistic heritage. The 2018 Festival will take place in the village from 8th to 17th June 2018.

 

 

Broadway Arts Festival 2018

Broadway Arts FestivalThe Broadway Arts Festival 2018 will be taking place in and around the village of Broadway from 8th to 17th June 2018. The beautiful Cotswold village of Broadway is a renowned centre for the arts with a unique artistic heritage of a world famous colony of artists the ‘Broadway Colony’. The Broadway Colony was a group of American artists, writers and musicians who visited and worked in Broadway in the late 19th century.

Broadway Arts Festival 2018 Events

The Broadway Arts Festival during June 2018 will offer a huge selection of events for all the family including: celebrity talks, art workshops and demonstrations, art exhibitions including an open art exhibition, a WW1 Exhibition, music including a ‘Come & Sing’ choral workshop, and theatre of the highest quality.

Broadway Artbeat Weekend will take place during the first week of the Festival from 8th-10th June – an exciting weekend event featuring artists and craftsmen demonstrating their skills, with specialist demonstrations led by some of the country’s most renowned contemporary artists.

During the evening of 14th June, Heartbreak Productions will be bringing romance to the village with their performance of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ in a tent on the village green.

Featured Guests

Featured guests during the Festival will include:

  • Sir Roy Strong CH FRSL, Patron of the Festival, in conversation with Tristram Hunt, the current Director of the V&A.
  • Richard Ormond the grandson of Violet Sargent Ormond, sister of John Singer Sargent. Richard, historical advisor to the Festival, will be giving a talk on the Art and Adventures of John Singer Sargent.
  • John Julius Norwich (2nd Viscount Norwich CVO) who will be giving a talk on his latest book The Art of France.
  • Leading art critic Andrew Graham Dixon.
  • Artist, writer and broadcaster Lachlan Goudie who recently present the BBC’s Big Painting Challenge.
  • Author Guy Fraser Sampson whose books include the Mapp and Lucia series.
  • Violinist and composer Ben Powell in concert.
  • Award-winning author Donna M. Lucey whose works include the bestselling Archie and Amelie: Love and Madness in the Gilded Age and  Sargent’s Women.

Broadway Arts Festival Tickets

Tickets for Broadway Arts Festival events this June will be on sale later in the year – more information about the Broadway Arts Festival 2018 can be found at: www.broadwayartsfestival.com.

Accommodation during the Festival

Our Cotswold holiday cottages on West End are just a few minutes’ walk from the centre of the village. Our self-catering holiday cottages are an ideal location to stay whilst visiting the Festival. For more information about our cottages in Broadway visit www.broadwaymanor.co.uk.

 

 

Beautiful Broadway, a very old English Village

Beautiful Broadway: A Very Old English Village

Henry James, an American writer who settled in England, was a frequent visitor to the Cotswolds. James described Broadway in 1889 as a ‘very old English village, lying amongst its meadows and hedges, in the very heart of the country, in the hollow of the green hills of Worcestershire’ and that ‘much of the land about it are in short the perfection of the old English rural tradition.’

The geese on the village green that James went on to describe may be missing today but the village’s ‘broad way’ lined with horse chestnut trees and honey-coloured Cotswold limestone buildings, many dating back to the 16th century with some parts of The Lygon Arms appearing to date back to the 14th century, still does not fail to charm visitors to this most picturesque and beautiful English village.

Broadway still delights. The village is a centre for the arts steeped in history with a unique heritage of a world-famous colony of artists, writers and musicians collectively known as the Broadway Colony who worked and visited the village during the late 19th century. The Colony included Henry James and Frank Millet, John Singer Sargent, Alfred Parsons, Mary Anderson de Navarro to name just a few.

Alfred Parsons RA, RI, PRWS (1847-1920)

My interest in gardening grew after obtaining an RHS Certificate in Horticulture which then led me to a qualification in Garden Design in 2005. During my studies I studied many great British garden designers including Alfred Parsons, Gertrude Jekyll (who was famous for her herbaceous borders and greatly influenced by the Arts & Crafts Movement), Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe, landscaper Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown and Rosemary Verey to name a few. I was also fortunate to visit many of the gardens which were originally designed by these great designers, many of which are located in the Cotswolds. I now live in the picturesque village of Broadway in the North Cotswolds which was also home to Alfred Parsons in the late 19th century.

Alfred William Parsons, English landscape painter, watercolourist and illustrator was born on 2nd December 1847 in Laverton near Frome, Somerset. Alfred was the second of seventeen children of Dr Joshua Parsons and Letitia Harriet Parsons (née Williams). His father was a doctor with a keen interest in growing alpines which no doubt sparked Alfred’s early interest in plants and gardening.

Although Parsons started work in 1865 as a clerk in the Post Office after 2 years he left to pursue studies at the Kensington School of Art. Parsons.  went on to become well known as a fine botanical painter, engraver and painter of English rural landscapes exhibiting at various galleries including the Royal Academy (1887), the Grosvenor and the New Gallery.

Whilst living in London, Parsons shared his home with Edwin Austin Abbey and they painted alongside each other in adjacent studios. Parsons was introduced to Broadway by his friend Lawrence Dutton who was a frequent visitor to Broadway Tower, the holiday retreat of William Morris, Dante Rosetti and Edward Burne-Jones. Parsons was so taken with the village that he decided to move out of London joining the Broadway colony of artists in residence in Broadway in the late 1880s. Parsons became a good friend of both John Singer Sargent and Francis Davis Millet (Frank and Elizabeth Millet named their youngest son John Alfred Parsons Millet after both Parsons and Sargent) and introduced Abbey to the Broadway colony.

Parsons also met Henry Harper through the Broadway Colony which led to him illustrating several editions of Harper’s New Monthly Magazine (Harper’s Magazine). Parsons also worked with his good friend Abbey on illustrations of Robert Herrick’s poems and supplied illustrations for Henry James’ essays on Broadway. He also illustrated songs, poems as well as travelogues.

Parsons’ fine watercolours for botanist Ellen Ann Willmott and illustrations for William Robinson, author of The Wild Garden, encouraged Parsons interest and passion in garden design. Parsons had always been an avid gardener and horticulturist and was once a judge at the Chelsea flower show.  Parsons went on to design several great gardens including Great Chalfield Manor, an Arts and Crafts garden near Melksham, Wightwick Manor near Wolverhampton and Lamb House, Rye, home of Henry James from 1898 to 1916. Parsons also designed several gardens in Broadway including Court Farm, home of Mary Anderson (Mme de Navarro), Broadway Court with its wonderful yew topiary, Bell Farm, home of the pianist and composer Miss Maud Valerie White and eventually his own at Luggershill.

Parsons became President of the Society of Painters in Water Colour in 1905 and full RA in 1911 on the acceptance of his diploma work, the oil painting Orange Lilies which Parsons painted in his back garden at Luggershill. Orange Lilies was on public display in the ‘Exhibition of the work of John Singer Sargent and members of the Broadway Colony’ at Trinity House, Broadway, during the 2010 Broadway Arts Festival. Parsons died at Luggershill (now known as Luggers Hall), Broadway, Worcestershire, on 16th January 1920.

The next Broadway Arts Festival will take place from 8th – 17th June 2018 and will offer a varied schedule of events including talks, art workshops, demonstrations and exhibitions, music and theatre. The village is a centre for the arts with its unique heritage of the world-famous colony of American artists, writers and musicians – the Broadway Colony.

If you are interested in staying in Broadway during the 2018 Festival please visit our Cotswold holiday cottages in Broadway, just a few minutes’ walk from the centre of the village.