|An enormous cabinet-style photograph of actor Hayden Coffin. This is actually the largest example of this style of
photograph that I have thus far encountered. It literally dwarfs conventional cabinet photographs and the smaller carte de
vistes seem almost insignificant. See the size comparison photograph at the bottom of this page.
This photograph is inscribed and autographed by Hayden Coffin: "With best wishes to Joseph Bowen from C. Hayden
Coffin, Feb 3 1894". I have yet to identify the role he is costumed for in this photograph, but it is clear that he is depicting
a British officer.
Actor and singer Hayden Coffin (Charles Hayden Coffin) was born on 22 April 1862 in Manchester, England.
One of the most popular stage baritones of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, Coffin made his London musical debut
as John Smith in Pocahontas (1885). Coffin made his mark as Harry Sherwood in the record setting hit Dorothy (1886), in
which he introduced the popular song Queen of My Heart. Good looks and a powerful voice made him a favorite with
audiences. He cemented his fame in such operettas as Doris (1889) and Captain Therese (1890), and spent a season in
New York co-starring in several productions with soprano Lillian Russell (1892-1893). Coffin returned to London,
redefining his career by starring in a series of hit musical comedies produced by George Edwardes, including A Gaiety
Girl (1893), The Geisha (1896), San Toy (1899) and A Country Girl (1902). He also appeared in Veronique (1904),
starred as Tom Jones (1907), and played Captain Charteris in The Quaker Girl (1910). In his later years, Coffin
concentrated on dramatic roles, with occasional musical appearances such as in Young England (1916). He continued
touring through the 1920s and appeared in several silent motion pictures.
He died on 8 December, 1935 in London.
Cabinet Style Photograph
12 1/2 inches by 7 1/2 inches (32 cm x 19 cm)
Alfred Ellis - Photographer
20 Upper Baker Street, London, N.W., England
February 3 1894
Below: A relative size comparison between this photograph of actor Hayden Coffin and the two most popular late 19th
Century photographic formats, the cabinet photograph and the carte de visite.