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We are back at base after one of the strangest Christmas and New Year seasons ever, so to all of you a Happy New Year and very best wishes for 2021!

Today's photograph from the Irish Personalities Photographic Collection is that of Frank Fay. Who was Frank Fay? Why was he considered of sufficient importance to feature here, and when was this likely to have been taken?

Photographers: Alfred G. Wager, Bristol

Collection: Irish Personalities Photographic Collection

Date: 1900-1931

NLI Ref: NPA PERS14

You can also view this image, and many thousands of others, on the NLI’s catalogue at catalogue.nli.ie

Info:

Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 5851
irishpersonalitiesphotographiccollection nationallibraryofireland personalities ireland frankfay francisfay bristol alfredgwagerphotographer

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  • profile

    sharon.corbet

    • 04/Jan/2021 09:08:51

    Happy New Year! Looks like was an American vaudeville star. Wikipedia says that his parents were Irish American?

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    O Mac

    • 04/Jan/2021 09:11:24

    Per notes Photographic portrait of Frank Fay, (1870–1931) Irish actor and co-founder of the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, Ireland.

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    O Mac

    • 04/Jan/2021 09:28:58

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/ conflicting birth dates. 1891 and 1870 above

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    John Spooner

    • 04/Jan/2021 09:33:43

    Wikipedia has Frank Fay, Irish actor (1870-1931) and Frank Fay, American vaudeville performer, alcoholic, fascist, wife-beater (1890-1961)

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 04/Jan/2021 09:35:43

    HNY 2021 Frank - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Fay_(Irish_actor) Brother William - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Fay Their company - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._G._Fay%27s_Irish_National_Dramat...

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    sharon.corbet

    • 04/Jan/2021 09:38:31

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] Yeah, they're separate people, and my (in-)ability to correctly identify people let me down again.

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 04/Jan/2021 09:38:57

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnspooner We'll have the Irish Actor if you don't mind?

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 04/Jan/2021 09:40:49

    Flickr is sometimes amazing! Another photo by Alfred G. Wager of Bristol - 'Bristol Girl' ( 👀 no sniggering please!) via https://www.flickr.com/photos/basilisksam/ https://www.flickr.com/photos/basilisksam/46041425231/

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 04/Jan/2021 09:49:46

    Mr Wager also photographed Gertrude Lawrence - www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/person/mp104750/alfred-...

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 04/Jan/2021 10:00:49

    ... and a child. See rear of postcard for studio information. Yours for £4.99 + post on eBay - www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Bristol-Child-Vintage-Colour-by-Alfred... "... Dolphin Studios, Dolphin Street, & 53 Corn Street, Bristol"

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    CASSIDY PHOTOGRAPHY

    • 04/Jan/2021 10:29:52

    www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia/ This one too, judging by the nose, etc. www.flickr.com/photos/basilisksam/6797137129/ If you have any doubts, stay away from Bangkok.

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    John Spooner

    • 04/Jan/2021 10:38:10

    Western Daily Press - Saturday 21 March 1931Western Daily Press - Saturday 21 March 1931

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    John Spooner

    • 04/Jan/2021 11:01:36

    Dolphin St didn't survive the blitz of 24th November 1940 and subsequent town planning (edit: now part of Castle Park) Dolphin Street (via @ Eddie Shoestring )

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    John Spooner

    • 04/Jan/2021 11:53:32

    Frank Fay's obituary in The Stage - Thursday 08 January 1931 The Stage - Thursday 08 January 1931 I'd guess that Frank Fay arranged for a portrait or two at Wager's during some free time in the 'touring England with Shakespearean companies" phase of his career.

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 04/Jan/2021 12:42:49

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnspooner] Good work there! He's looking in his 50s here and that collar pin looks a bit 1920s This biography has lots more interesting information - dib.cambridge.org/viewReadPage.do;jsessionid=81ECD4CD7568... , including " ... He is credited with creating the Abbey Theatre style of acting, which became internationally known, and influenced many other schools of acting. He wanted actors to behave as naturally as possible and to speak the lines as people would in real life, rather than with an exaggerated stage delivery. His training was a major influence on subsequent generations, as actors learned to ‘speak words with quiet force, like feathers borne on puffs of wind’ (Frazier, 98)."

  • profile

    oaktree_brian_1976

    • 04/Jan/2021 12:56:05

    earlier, more formal pose: artsandculture.google.com/asset/portrait-of-frank-fay-joh... So the photo above would be later in the date range.

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    John Spooner

    • 04/Jan/2021 12:56:47

    I searched The Stage and Bristol newspapers of the relevant period and found that "our" Frank Fay "displayed marked elocutionary skill as a Chronicler" in a performance of "Abraham Lincoln" with Birmingham Rep at Eastbourne (The Stage - Thursday 13 November 1919), but nothing in Bristol. But most matches were for yet another Frank Fay, a music hall performer between 1918 until the late 1930s.

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    John Spooner

    • 04/Jan/2021 13:12:39

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia] He is quoted on this website

    Irish accent: ‘We thought it was time to make the Irish accent and idiom in the speaking of English a vehicle for the expression of Irish character on the stage and not for the sole purpose of providing laughter.’ (Quoted in Frank Tuohy, Yeats, 1976, p.100.)

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    maso1961

    • 04/Jan/2021 13:35:02

    Stephen Fay, Frank's nephew... www.theguardian.com/media/2020/may/24/stephen-fay-obituary

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    Niall McAuley

    • 04/Jan/2021 13:52:33

    At his parents' place in the 1901 census

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    Maryade

    • 10/Feb/2021 17:04:36

    Ooh I never saw this photo of Frank Fay before. It's very nice indeed! Others have touched on their significance in the foundation of the Abbey Theatre, but their influence shouldn't be underestimated as they were almost as important as mentors to the early Abbey players and playwrights. According to Zack Bowen, Padraic Colum attributed his skills of recitation to Frank. Seemingly, Padraic largely left the Abbey after the Fays departed as he didn't gel with the change in, um, approach to governance and direction, shall we say.