7 June 2009

Herbert Marshall and Fredda Brilliant

The photo above shows Fredda Brilliant in July 1947, in her dressing room at the Globe Theatre in London, where she was the leading lady to Michael Redgrave in Robert Ardrey's Thunder Rock, which was produced by her husband Herbert Marshall.

Fredda Brilliant's interpretation of Herbert Marshall. In Fredda Brilliant: Biographies in Bronze, Brilliant describes meeting her future husband on 5 February, 1935, and immediately inviting him to sit for her. She lived in a tiny room in the suburbs of Moscow, where she explains that she had only about three feet in which to move, and was frequently covered in bruises through hitting a pipe that stuck out from the central heating radiator. Marshall was a terrible subject as he was very restless, and Brilliant at times had to hold him down physically. She says: 'It was only his respect for my work that kept him coming to sit for me.' Of course it was.

The portrait was exhibited at the State Museum of Decorative Art, by the Lenin Library, and Brilliant says that it received recognition as one of the best three exhibits.


Snatch51 said...

So Fredda was a hot babe as well being a talented sculptress.

Perhaps her surname was well-earned.

Penny Atkinson said...

Yeah, but Marshall was only interested in her work, remember.

Penny Atkinson said...

Oh, silly me - of course, she was being ironic. She was justly proud of her work, but she was well aware of her other assets.

And less of the sexism here please, Snatch - there are ladies present :---)

Michael Turner said...

I have started to collect vintage sheet music and have acquired amongst a batch of 30s 40s pieces "A Little Russian Lullaby" - English lyric by Herbert Marshall and sung by Miss Fredda Brilliant. I have found the music from the original Russian film - but I cannot find any recordings of this by Fredda. Have you in your research? It seemed such an innocent piece of music when I picked it up but what a long and fascinating life she led.

Dr Tony Shaw said...

Thanks for this comment, Michael, although it leaves me completely mystified: I know nothing about the musical Fredda and Herbert! When I was researching in Southern Illinois in 2004 and 2007 there were people in Special Collections who remembered them both, so you might try emailing Morris Library Special Collections, SIU Carbondale: speccoll@lib.siu.edu. You'll find them very willing to help, I'm certain, and if they can't help themselves they may well be able to put you in touch with someone who can.