Two weeks ago, while sorting through an old box of my grandmothers’s bits and pieces, my mother found a signed photograph of the famous Australian opera singer, Dame Nellie Melba, OBE. It was taken in a Parisian photographic studio and she is dressed in full Edwardian finery. Dated 1898, it is signed ‘To Mrs. Duff, from her sincere friend, Nellie Melba”.
The Marwood sisters of Pleasington Lodge, near Blackburn , Lancashire, Freda, Muriel (my grandmother) and Angela, together with their first cousins Constance, Dorothy and Monica Marwood of Beech Cottage, Liverpool, were all devoted followers of the theatre and opera, collecting and exchanging photographs of the stars of the day.
Most of these mementos have disappeared over the years, so my mother was delighted to find this one, and rather hopes to find one or two more as her sorting continues. The name ‘Mrs Duff’ is puzzling her though; she’s never heard of her before.