Camille Clifford

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Camille Clifford
Camille Clifford 2.jpg
Camille Clifford, the quintessential Gibson Girl.
Camilla Antoinette Clifford

(1885-06-29)29 June 1885
Died28 June 1971(1971-06-28) (aged 85)
Years active1902–1906, c. 1915c. 1918
Hon. Henry Lyndhurst Bruce
(m. 1906; died 1914)

John Meredyth Jones Evans
(m. 1917; died 1957)

Camilla Antoinette Clifford (29 June 1885 – 28 June 1971), known professionally as Camille Clifford, was a Belgian-born stage actress and the most famous model for the "Gibson Girl" illustrations. Her towering coiffure and hourglass figure defined the Gibson Girl style.

Early life[edit]

Clifford was born on 29 June 1885 in Antwerp, Belgium, to Reynold Clifford and Matilda Ottersen. Camille was raised in Sweden, Norway and Boston.[1]


In the early 1900s, she won $2,000 in a magazine contest sponsored by illustrator Charles Dana Gibson to find a living version of his Gibson Girl drawings: his ideal woman.[2] Clifford became an actress, performing in the United States from 1902 and in England from 1904. She returned from London to Boston on 3 July 1906.[3] While generally playing walk-on, non-speaking roles, Clifford became famous nonetheless: not for her talent, but for her beauty, and in the musical show The Catch of the Season which opened at London's Vaudeville Theatre on 9 Sept 1904 she sang a song, "Sylvia, the Gibson Girl".[4] Her trademark style was a long, elegant gown wrapped around her tightly corseted, eighteen-inch wasp waist.

She retired from the stage upon her marriage in 1906. She made a brief return to the stage after the death of her first husband in 1914.

Personal life[edit]

In 1906, she was married to Captain the Hon. Henry Lyndhurst Bruce (1881–1914), the eldest son and heir apparent of Henry Bruce, 2nd Baron Aberdare. They had one child, Margaret, but the child died five days after birth. Her first husband was killed during the Great War in 1914 and his younger brother, Clarence, succeeded to the barony upon their father's death.[5]

In 1917, she married Captain John Meredyth Jones Evans. After the war she left the stage for good and later owned a stable of successful racehorses.[6] Together, they were the parents of:[7]

Her second husband died in 1957.[9] She died on 28 June 1971.


Despite her reputation as "the quintessential Gibson Girl", she was by no means the only person to pose for the popular character.[10]

Photographs of her taken by Lizzie Caswall Smith in 1905 often appear in historical fashion books and on websites to illustrate the Edwardian style.


  1. ^ Gillan, Don. "Camille Clifford Biography". Retrieved 20 August 2010.
  2. ^ "The Prince Of Pilsen: The People In The Piece". The Play Pictorial. XXII (IV): 144. August 1904. Retrieved 27 July 2009. Among the players of minor parts is Miss Camille Clifford, who recently achieved considerable celebrity by winning a prize of 2,000 dollars given by an American journal to the lady who should be decided to be the most representative New York girl according to the famous Dana Gibson pattern.
  3. ^ "FREE Port of New York Passenger Records Search". Retrieved 20 August 2010.
  4. ^ Hicks, Seymour (1904). The Catch of the Season (Vocal Score). London: Francis, Day & Hunter. pp. 83–85.
  5. ^ Stolberg, Charles (7 August 1915). "War's Toll Upon Famous Families". The New York Evening Post. Retrieved 27 July 2009. Captain the Hon. Henry Lyndhurst Bruse, husband of Camille Clifford, the so-called original "Gibson Girl," was killed at Ypres in December, while (serving) with the Royal Scots.
  6. ^ Gillan, Don. "Camille Clifford Biography". Retrieved 20 August 2010.
  7. ^ Mosley, Charles, editor. Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 106th edition, 2 volumes. Crans, Switzerland: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 1999.
  8. ^ "MISS PAGET IS FOUND; Daughter of the Late Admiral Paget Was Missing for a Week". The New York Times. 4 February 1926. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  9. ^ "A genealogical survey of the peerage of Britain as well as the royal families of Europe". Retrieved 20 August 2010.
  10. ^ "Why Do They Call Me A Gibson Girl? Miss Camille Clifford Singing The Song Which Reached Miss Edna May's Heart". The Bystander. XII (149): 83. 10 October 1906. Retrieved 27 July 2009. Also see Thompson, Paul (January 1907). "Our Portraits: Phyllis Dare". The Burr McIntosh Monthly. XII (47): 194. Retrieved 27 July 2009.

Further reading[edit]

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