This is a Circa 1900 brooch with a painting on porcelain of Lillian Russell in a very ornate gold filled frame with an elaborate design indicative of the period. Lillian Russell (December 4, 1860 – June 6, 1922), born Helen Louise Leonard, was an American actress and singer. She became one of the most famous actresses and singers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, known for her beauty and style, as well as for her voice and stage presence. Russell was born in Clinton, Iowa but raised in Chicago. Her parents separated when she was eighteen, and she moved to New York with her mother. She began to perform professionally by 1879, singing for Tony Pastor and playing roles in comic opera, including Gilbert and Sullivan works. Composer Edward Solomon created roles in several of his comic operas for her in London. For many years, she was the foremost singer of operettas and musical theatre in America, performing continuously through the end of the 19th century. In 1899, she joined the Weber and Fields' Music Hall, where she starred for five years. After 1904, she began to have vocal difficulties and switched to dramatic roles. She later returned to musical roles in vaudeville, however, finally retiring from performing around 1919. Russell was married four times, but her longest relationship was with Diamond Jim Brady, who supported her extravagant lifestyle for four decades. In later years, Russell wrote a newspaper column, advocated women's suffrage and was a popular lecturer. This is a very beautiful portrait of her in one of her many roles. It measures 2 1/4 inches by 2 inches and written across the back is her name. This exquisite brooch is a fine example of an elegant bygone era and testimony to an American theatrical legend.
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