Eleanor Bufton (1840-1893)
By
Jennifer Carnell

Eleanor Bufton
Carte de visite photograph, circa 1864. (Part of the Swanborough Family Photograph Collection)

Eleanor Bufton was born in Wales in 1840. She became an actress as a child, performing first in the provinces and in London by the time she was a teenager. She became a leading actress at the Strand Theatre, which was run by the theatrical Swanborough family, and married Arthur Swanborough on 21 February 1860. She and Arthur had two daughters, Ada Vera and Gussie, and she appeared at the Strand theatre throughout the 1860s and early 1870s.

During the 1870s she began to appear at other theatres, and important roles included Miss Flamboys in Randall's Thumb by W.S. Gilbert and Estella in the first stage version of the Charles Dickens novel Great Expectations in 1871.

Eleanor continued with her career until injuries sustained in a train crash made this difficult. She was also the victim of a violent street assault by a stranger as she walked back from a theatre. Both of these incidents affected her memory, and thereafter she appeared on the stage far less frequently.

A printed version from the 1860s of Eleanor's Bufton's autograph.

Eleanor Bufton
A carte de visite by Window & Bridge, circa 1864. A Diamond Cameo portrait, and each picture is slightly padded
. (Part of the Swanborough Family Photograph Collection)

From left to right:
David James (a well known actor, his real name was David Belasco), Arthur Swanborough, Ada Swanborough,
Edward Swanborough, and Eleanor Bufton Swanborough. Taken outside, circa 1864. (Part of the Swanborough Family Photograph Collection)

An engraving of Eleanor Bufton, after a photograph taken by Clarkington in 1860.

Eleanor Bufton, circa 1864.

A cabinet sized woodbury photograph of Eleanor, taken in 1875.

A woodburytype photograph of Eleanor, circa 1877.

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