[HARDY, THOMASGERTRUDE BUGLER.]
Assemblage of 6 Photographs of Hardy Players in The Return of the Native, 5 5/8 by 4 inch sepia-toned gelatin silver prints, c.1921, mounted together on period board titled in manuscript "The Return of the Native", with 4 apparent signatures of the actors on the larger mount underneath their photos, overall size is 11 x 35 inches.
Very attractive and unusual presentation. The actors depicted include Gertrude Bugler who played Eustacia Vye and was the cause of much gossip when she caught Hardy's eye late in life. Gertrude closely resembled her mother, Augusta Way, who inspired the character Tess in Tess of the d'Urbervilles. In June of 1921, Hardy and his second wife, Florence, traveled to the ruins of Sturminster Newton, where he had lived with his first wife, Emma, to see the Hardy Players perform The Return of the Native. After the performance, Hardy had tea with the cast at Riverside Villa. Hardy invited Gertrude to stay overnight at Sturminster Newton and he insisted she sleep in the very room that he had written the novel some thirty years earlier. After Gertrude's final performance in The Return of the Native, it was reported that Hardy suggested that she may, one day, play the role of Tess.
By the first performance of Tess of the d'Ubervilles in 1924, Hardy had become noticeably smitten with Mrs. Bugler. His intense involvement with the play's production, the attention being paid to Gertrude, and his insistence that she play the lead role caused quite a bit of local gossip and engendered Florence's intense jealousy.
The frame bears the label of H.V. Day, an antique shop in Dorchester. Also present in the lot is a small collection of ephemera relating to Hardy and the theater, the earliest of which is a program for the 1924 production of Tess which also starred Gertrude Bugler.