The Irish Times picks up on Sotheby’s Sir William Orpen portraits that were part of a famous society uproar:
Rose Boote (1878-1958) was, according to Sotheby’s, “the daughter of a comedian from Nottingham and a straw hat sewer” although a report in The Irish Times at the time of her death claimed she was “Irish and was educated in the Ursuline Convent, Thurles”.
Using the stage name of Rosie, she achieved great fame as one of the Gaiety Girls – not of Dublin’s South King Street variety – but rather the chorus-line girls who sang in musical comedy spectacles at the Gaiety Theatre on the Strand, London. The girls attracted the attention of aristocratic young men – known as “Stage Door Johnnies” – and, in 1900, Rosie’s performance in a hit musical The Messenger Boy apparently charmed the eminently eligible young Irish aristocrat, the 4th Marquis of Headfort, Geoffrey Thomas Taylour (1878-1943). She quit the theatre and they married on April 11th, 1901.
The wedding created a sensation in Edwardian London. He was a member of one of the most prominent Protestant families in Ireland with estates of some 22,000 acres in Cavan and Meath while Rose, apart from being on the stage, was a Catholic. They lived in Headfort House, Kells, Co Meath and a London townhouse and had three children.
He had succeeded to the title 4th Marquis of Headfort on the death of his father in 1894 and moved in the highest echelons of British society.
The Irish Couple Who Scandalized London Society (Irish Times)