Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Ardath de Sales Stean, Hampstead Cemetery

The epitaph on Ardath de Sales Stean's grade II listed monument says, very simply, "in ever loving memory, beloved by all who knew her, died at sea." A short notice in the Daily Mail of 24 August 1928 gives a few more details.

Notices in other papers add very few other details - she was from Seattle and was travelling to England to see her sister who was appearing in a new review according to one American newspaper. Quite possibly none of these details are accurate, not even even her name,  Ardath de Sales has the definite ring of a stage name. We know that she was an American dancer and had worked on Broadway before coming to England in 1926/27 appearing in 'Mercenary Mary' at the Hippodrome and in cabaret at the Park Lane Hotel; there are two studio portraits of her taken by theatrical photographer Sasha (the Scot Alexander Stewart active between 1924 and 1940) in stage costume. A gossip magazine reports her as appearing at the Chez Victor dance club and Ciro's nightclub but whether in a professional or personal capacity is not clear. She died mysteriously aboard the SS Homeric on the passage to England following an emergency operation and was buried at Hampstead Cemetery where person or person's unknown thought enough of her to commission her unusual monument. 



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