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Achille Melandri (1845-1905)

Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923) c.1877

Albumen print | 13.7 x 10.1 cm (image) | RCIN 2930674

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During her unconventional life, the celebrated French actress also successfully applied herself to becoming a theatre impresario, playwright, model, author, sculptor and painter. Whether sculpting or painting, she would wear her ‘atelier ensemble’, the white satin trouser suit seen here, designed for her by couturier Charles Frederick Worth. Bernhardt exhibited her works regularly and the painting seen in the photograph was reportedly purchased by Prince Leopold in June 1879, at an exhibition organised in conjunction with her London debut at the Gaiety Theatre.