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George Grossmith Jr

Spy (Sir Leslie Ward) (1851-1922)



Watercolour and bodycolour on board

19 ¾ x 13 inches

The World [Supplement], 8 August 1910

Chris Beetles & Alexander Beetles (eds.) Portraits of Vanity Fair: The Charles Sigety Collection, London: Chris Beetles Ltd, 2023, page 201

'Portraits of Vanity Fair: The Charles Sigety Collection', Chris Beetles Gallery, London, October-November 2023, no 100

George Grossmith Jr (1874-1935) was an actor, director, playwright and producer, particularly of Edwardian musical comedies. He was the son of George Grossmith (1847-1912), the writer and composer of comic operas and musical sketches who most famously created a series of characters in the operas of Gilbert and Sullivan and wrote, in collaboration with his brother Weedon, the 1892 comic novel The Diary of a Nobody. George Grossmith himself appeared in Vanity Fair on 21 January 1888 as ‘Men of the Day no 393, “The Pinafore”’.

George Grossmith Jr began his acting career in musical stage comedies such as Gaiety Girl (1893) and The Shop Girl (1894). He found fame in the early years of the 1900s thanks to a number of musical productions that he often wrote and starred in himself, such as The Spring Chicken (1905), The New Aladdin (1906) and Peggy (1911). Tall and lanky, George Grossmith Jr was often paired with the diminutive actor Edmund Payne for comedic effect. Later in his career, he found success as a producer both in London and New York, with productions such as The Bing Boys Are Here (1916), Kissing Time (1919) and Eastward Ho! (1919).

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