Gabrielle Ray, Christmas Witch, 1907

Apparently, I needed a break. So I took one. “Am taking one” I should say, ’cause I haven’t finished being broken, or breaking, or taking a break, or whatever. But I wanted to start the new year (NB to any non-pagans out there, the real new year has already started) with a pretty witch xmas card of the delightful Gabrielle Ray (1883–1973), “one of the most photographed women in the world” (according to Wikipedia).

Ray performed at leading West End venues, becoming famous across Europe for her youthful beauty and her skill as a dancer. As the bio. on this site explains, “She had a graceful fluidity coupled with an acrobatic prowess that made her dancing nothing less than sensational.” In 1907, Ray played “Frou Frou” in George Edwardes’ adaptation of The Merry Widow, which ran for 778 performances at Daly’s Theatre. Ray’s dance number, complete with handstands and high kicks, performed on a table at Maxim’s held head high by four men, was a show stopper. Probably a heart-stopper too.

This photo is slightly earlier: it is one of a series of photos of Ray as “So-Hie” in the “Chinese” comic opera, See-See at the 
Prince of Wales’s Theatre, London, 20 June 1906.
 The photograph has been altered by the Rotary Photographic Co. Ltd of London, probably in 1907, for issue in its Rotary Photographic Series. You can see others in this series, and find lots of information about Ray, here.

Sadly, as Ray’s career waned “a damaging combination of depression and alchoholism brought about a total breakdown in health”; in 1936 she suffered a total nervous breakdown which led to her remaining institutionalized in a mental hospital for nearly forty years! What an end for a woman with so much going for her.

And with this terrible warning before all of us I hope you’ll forgive me for continuing my break a little longer. I will start posting regularly towards the end of (my) summer. Adieu.

11 Responses to “Gabrielle Ray, Christmas Witch, 1907”

  1. Dear Red Witch,
    even people actually miss(ed) you, this is just a blog, leave the broom in the garage as long as you feel like. Maybe this new video about Santa’s little pagan helper will cheer you up a little bit:

    Wicked Witchmas and a better new year, may all of your spells and potions work out good!

  2. Nice to read your piece about Miss Ray, she looked very cute in “See See” here is another of her riding a brook stick

  3. Hi!

    I hope your break is being useful…or at least a time to heal! I too was (am :P) needing a break, but it’s more spiritual than anything else and right now it can’t be done. Anyway…hope you’re feeling better by now…

    I just found your blog a few days ago (when I opened mine :P) and I loved it!! Obviously there’s waaaaayyyyyyyy too many things here and I haven’t even seen 1/15 of it yet hahahahaha Just wanted to let you know I love it! Oh, and just out of curiosity, if you want to check my very very veeeeryyyyyy few pictures of witches, in case you don’t already have them all :P, check 2 of my posts (I might have a third one with other witch pics, but I’m not sure if there are any left in my PC…if that’s the case, I’ll come back here and let you know!): and there’s only ONE here (it’s a very “classic” witch drawing, I think you already have it: and a few here (mixed with angels, fairies, warriors, mermaids, etc…sorry!!!):

  4. Glad to see your still with us , even if a break is being had.

  5. Have you seen this “New Yorker” magazine cover from November 2000? Thought you might like it:

  6. redwitch1 Says:

    I have thanks Sharon. In fact, I have done a post on it already! See here


  7. Here is an really beautiful woman practicing erotic hypnosis as a witch. Pretty crazy.

  8. Persephone Says:

    Dearest Red Witch, I hope you are mending/unbreaking. I just recently finished a break of my own (I was quite broken). Please take your time. I’m watching Bell, Book and Candle, and thought of your post. Write if you need a listening ear.

  9. […] they’ve been MIA for over 2 years. While their last post mentions their needing to take a break, which I can completely sympathize with, I can’t help […]

  10. Brisbane Leading Brothel

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