A friend forwarded me an online article announcing that interpretative dancer Maud Allan's original Salome costume, currently held by the Dance Collection Danse (DCD) in Toronto, Canada, will receive treatment from the Canadian Conservation Institute.
Once conserved, the costume will join other Maud Allan artifacts in DCD's extensive Allan archives, which, according to the article, include a bisque nodder. . . .
and Salome cigarettes.
In fact, Ms. Allan, during her brief stardom as the "Salome dancer," inspired all sorts of diverse memorabilia. The name "Salome" may invoke many visions, but a waltz is probably not one of the first to come to mind. . . .
Although born in Canada in 1873, Maud Allan moved with her family to San Francisco, California, while a child. She became an accomplished pianist and in 1895 traveled to Berlin to continue her music studies, but in 1902 abandoned the piano to become a dancer of "musically impressionistic mood settings." Allan, who designed her own costumes and created her own choreography, first debuted in the title role in “The Vision of Salome” in 1906, but it was in 1908 when she appeared on the London stage that her Salome achieved stardom. Her two-week engagement stretched into 18 months and she became one of the most famous and wealthy female performers of her time. After her triumph in England, Allan would tour Europe and the United States, but her fame quickly faded. The fad for interpretative dance was passing as troupes such as the Ballet Russes combined the freedom of interpretative dance with the discipline of ballet, creating a new, polished, and more challenging form of modern dance. In 1918, Allan returned to England to star in Oscar Wilde's "Salome," and became enmeshed in an unsuccessful libel action that ultimately destroyed her reputation and career (for more information regarding the "Black Book" trial, I recommend Philip Hoare's book, Oscar Wilde's Last Stand).
In my book, Bawdy Bisques and Naughty Novelties, I have a chapter devoted to Ms. Allan and the bisque and china Salomes she inspired.