The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Charles Hallam Elton Brookfield, 1857-1913

Nationality: English
Date of Birth: 1857.05.19
Place of Birth: London
Date of Death: 1913.10.20
Place of Death: Clareville Street, Old Brompton, London


Charles Hallam Elton Brookfield was an actor and playwright. He was the second son of Rev. William Henry Brookfield, curate of St. Luke's, Berwick Street, and Jane Octavia Elton, the youngest daughter of Sir Charles Elton, the 7th Baronet of Clevedon Court. His parents friends included Monckton Milnes, Spedding, Blakesley, Francis Garden, Thackeray, Tennyson, Arthur Hallam, Kinglake and Venables. His godparents were Lord Ashburton, Henry Hallam, Mrs Elliot and Miss Baring. He had one elder sister, Magdalene (b. 15 February 1850), and an elder brother, Arthur Montagu (b. 18 March 1853), who became Colonel Brookfield.


Brookfield was well known as an actor, dramatic author and journalist. At Cambridge University, he was awarded the Winchester Reading Prize in 1878.

He made his first professional stage appearance at the Alexandra Palace Theatre in Still Waters Run Deep in 1879. Over the next twenty years he appeared with Ellen Terry, the Kendalls, and Herbert Beerbohm Tree, among others, in works ranging from pantomime and farce to Shakespeare. His one appearance with the D'Oyly Carte organization was as Baron Grog in the 1897-1898 revival of The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein. Soon afterwards ill health forced his retirement from the stage.

After this he concentrated on journalism and writing for the theatre. He was the joint-librettist (with Adrian Ross and Aubrey Hopwood) of The Lucky Star, an ill-fated comic opera that premiered at the Savoy Theatre in January 1899. His works for the stage included Dear Old Charlie (like The Lucky Star, an adaptation from the French), which was criticized as unsuitable for the stage. His appointment as examiner of plays in late 1911 was controversial; however, his health grew worse and a joint examiner was appointed in February 1912.

He worked some years on The Saturday Review and published Random Reminiscences, London, 1902.

In the 1890s he lived at Craven House, 155 Church Street, Chelsea.


Kelly's Directory for Chelsea, Pimlico and Belgravia, London, 1890-1892; Random Reminiscences, London, 1902; Who Was Who, London, Vol. 1; Bénézit, E., Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs, 8 vols, Paris, 1956-61; Brookfield, Charles and Frances Brookfield, Mrs. Brookfield And Her Circle, 2 vols, London, 1905.