Jenkins, Florence Foster. (1868-1944)
Original Signed Photograph
An extremely rare signed portrait photograph of the notoriously awful soprano, inscribed to Countess de Pokorsky and dated October 26, 1926. Jenkins is shown wearing the Spanish outfit that she featured in her performances of the song, “Clavelitos” (during which she would throw flowers from a basket under her arm into the audience.) Photographed by Elite Studios, New York. Two small mounting remnants on the verso; one corner loss; overall in fine condition. 8.5 x 12.75 inches (21.2 x 32.3 cm).
Florence Foster Jenkins, an American girl born in 1868 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania to a well-to-do family, has become a legend as “the world’s worst opera singer.” She made some vanity 78 rpm records for the Mel-o-tone label during World War Two, and in October 1944 hired Carnegie Hall for a recital. The bad reviews that resulted from that recital were said to break her heart and she died a few weeks later at age 76, but the recordings have kept her name and her art alive. In recent years there have been several plays about her, and this year there are three full-length movies. The first, a French comedy-drama titled “Marguerite,” was released earlier this year. A second, produced in Britain and starring Meryl Streep as Jenkins, is being released in the USA in August, 2016, and later this year a German docu-drama starring soprano Joyce di Donato as Jenkins will premiere. Two different full-length biographies of Jenkins have appeared within the last weeks in England, one by Darryl Bullock and the other by Jasper Rees. However, autograph material and other historical memorabilia of Jenkins is of the utmost rarity.