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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Anna Pavlova's Silk Shawl

As a music antiquarian we have a number of odd items which found their way to us. One day a walking stick once owned by Jacques Offenbach found it's way to us. It was complete with a nasty little dagger and housed in it's own custom made wooden box with a plaque.  I had alot of fun tracking the item and by the time I was done, I knew every owner of the stick and quite a provenance it had!  I also had Efrem Zimbalist's silent violin, found in his wife, soprano Alma Gluck's travel trunk!  Just to recall a couple of them.  Several months ago, I was contacted by a very pleasant retiree from the Midwest.  She had inherited from a friend a most interesting collection of Anna Pavlova memorabilia.  As a tribute to her friend, she had established a mini-museum in a walk-in closet in her home dedicated to her friend, a friend of Anna Pavlova.

The fascinating collection was compiled by a woman by the name of Nondas Morton.  The child of two vaudevillians, she had demonstrated a talent for ballet at a young age and due to a friendship of her Mother with a member of Pavlova's corps de ballet, she was given an audition.  Pavlova had apparently fallen in love with the child and when she toured, was given lessons by her own company choreographer, the legendary Enrico Cechetti.  When Pavlova came to town, Pavlova spent hours with the young girl and she was given prime seats to every performance.  We were able to trace the entire friendship though letters between her Mother and her ballerina friend.

In and amongst  the clippings, scrap books, photographs, letters and the like was a silk challis embroidered scarf.  You see, Nondas had kept her relationship with Victor D'Andre, Pavlova's husband and personal manager and after her death, Nondas wrote to D'Andre and he sent her a couple of keepsakes to remember her great friend.   We are currently in possession of the scarf and a beautifully embroidered handkerchief which once belonged to the legendary ballerina.  We even have the large envelope in which he forwarded the scarf to Nondas.

The item is now sold.

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