Matt Houlbrook: mobile historian; beard growing, head shaving; occasional cycling.
Frederick Lonsdale’s comedy of modern lives and loves opened at the St Martin’s Theatre in London in January 1925. A month later a positive review in the Tatler was accompanied by these two fantastic illustrations by Nerman.
In Lonsdale’s play a husband becomes convinced his wife is about to have an affair. His response? To employ a lady of the streets to live in their house to shock her. It makes sense to me too…
In Nerman’s illustrations we see Cathleen Nesbit as the furred and cigarette-smoking “Mona, the lady of the streets, who is co-opted to the dinner party in order that she may give the ‘amateurs’ her ideas of things.” “Ultra-shinged,” austere, monocled and masculine — the very height of daring fashion of the time — Edna Best appears as “Fay Collen, one of the heroine’s numerous degenerate friends.”