Lillie Langtry

Lillie Langtry

Photograph of Lillie Langtry dated 1875.

A Jersey Lily

Titled "A Jersey Lily", this oil portrait of Lillie Langtry was painted by Sir John Everett Millais in 1878.

Lillie Langtry was born Emilie Charlotte Le Breton in 1853 into an Anglican clergy family on the Channel isle of Jersey.  In 1875, Langtry moved to the city of London and quickly became a sought-after model.  She received the nickname “The Jersey Lily” from the portrait painted of her by John Everett Millais. With characteristic determination, Langtry decided to employ her charms as an actress. She made a successful debut in 1881 in a charity production and subsequently put together her own acting troupe.  In 1882 she left for her first theater tour of America, having negotiated the highest salary ever paid to an actress. 

In 1888, Langtry purchased a homestead and 2,700 additional acres in Lake County, California. Soon after, she and her American friend, Fred Gephard, transformed the property into an opulent estate that would reflect her worldly past.  Lillie Langtry eventually retired in Monte Carlo and died in 1929. She is buried in the graveyard of St. Saviour's Church in Jersey, the church where her father had been rector.