Caricature of Gertrude Lawrence

Caricature of Gertrude Lawrence

This caricature was drawn by actress Irene Wells while Gertrude Lawrence was appearing as Amanda in Noël Coward’s play Private Lives in 1930. However, as the doll she holds looks nothing like Coward, who starred as Elyot, or Laurence Olivier, who played Amanda’s husband, Victor, the drawing probably relates to men in general becoming mere playthings in Lawrence’s hands. She was certainly one of the most stylish and captivating theatrical stars of her generation and the epitome of glamour. Private Lives made her a huge star and was a great hit for her and Coward as the divorced Elyot and Amanda, who meet again when honeymooning with their new partners. Lawrence’s success was so great that the public often confused her with Amanda and assumed that her private life was equally tempestuous.