I apologise to The Baz’s loyal followers for the unprecedented hiatus. Moving is a nightmare. You lose things. Including your mind. I never want to do it again.
But anyhow. In my absence, it seems the nice lady relative of Ouida’s who promised to get back to us but never did has begun selling her Ouida-wares on Ebay. By which I mean photos, mostly of O herself, some of Basil. As various people have been sending in copies, I thought I’d post some of them here.
The photos seem to date from c.1915 onward. Many are snapshots of Ouida’s psyche as much as of her sturdy little form. Aspirational. Romantic. Tinged with the unreal.
This one alleges to have been taken in Connecticut, probably around 1920, possibly when Ouida was married to George Fitzmaurice, certainly before she knew Rathbone. She seems to be standing in a field wearing a kimono and carrying a Japanese umbrella. As you do.
And here she is, again c. 1920, this time wearing nothing but a fur wrap.
This one is captioned “New York Apt/ Married to George Fitzmaurice/ Picture Producer/ Ouida’s second husband”. Which means whoever wrote that knew about the shadowy Mr Burgess, Ouida’s first husband back in Little Rock. The one she seems to have forgotten to mention to Rathbone…
Ouida and that second (or first or third, depending on your source) husband at home, with candles…
Finally, two photos of Ouida’s third (or fourth or second) and most famous husband. This lovely photo is allegedly by the “Hollywood photographer” Russell Ball. Rathbone looks very young, so if it was indeed taken in Hollywood it must have been one of his first visits there, either in the mid twenties when touring THE SWAN, or 1929-30 when he was out there making THE LAST OF MRS CHEYNEY.
This one was taken maybe as little as eight or nine years later, but note the difference in Rathbone’s face and demeanor. In the first he looks open, willing. In the second he seems much more closed down, much more reluctant to be there. In the first he seems happy, in the second not so much.