Would you like to meet Lillie Langtry, an example of a celebrity circa 1878? A Jersey girl from the Channel Islands, Lillie was already the mistress of the Prince of Wales and acclaimed beauty when she posed for British artist John Everett Millais in the portrait above. Yet, Millais,has depicted her as still innocent and demure, holding her trademark lily.
Twenty years later Langtry sat for American painter Childe Hassam whose impressionistic style naturally softened any evidence of middle age (before the benefits of modern plastic surgery). Now an actress plus survivor of several scandals, she was in the midst of one of her numerous tours across the United States. Among her admirers then was Texan Roy Bean, self-proclaimed judge and reputedly the only “Law West of the Pecos;” she would eventually make the long journey to visit Langtry, the frontier town he christened in her honor.*
*According to the official history of Langtry, Texas, the town was actually named after George Lantry (no relationship to Lillie).
Lillie Langtry (1853-1929).
Sir John Everett Millais (1829-1896), A Jersey Lily, Portrait of Lillie Langtry, 1878, oil on canvas, Jersey Museum and Art Gallery, St. Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands
Childe Hassam (1859-1935), Lillie (Lillie Langtry), 1898, watercolor and gouache on paperboard sheet, Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.
The above images are used solely for educational purposes.