These photographs are part of a collection belonging to Richard Colley, an Englishman who was called “Dickie” by his many friends. Most of the pictures are dated from 1922 – 1925, the others are dated 1932 and 1933.
Colley apparently lived an upper-class life. The photographs show him on vacations, and at parties, openings and costume balls. Most of his friends in his photo album go uncaptioned, but there is also photographic proof that he did know Dorothy Gish, Beatrice de Bourbon, who was married toConte Don Pietro Lucchesi Palli dei Principi di Campofranco, and Marie-José Charlotte Sophie Amélie Henriette Gabriell the wife of the gay King Umberto II, the last king of Italy.
Colley may also have had some sort of brief career as a dancer. He also seems to have used his mother’s surname. His parents were Gerald Douglas Best and Louisa Mary Colley.
His childhood home was The Grange at Canon Pyon in Herefordshire, where his parents still lived at the time of the photographs. He kept a flat in London and spent time in the early 1930s at a cottage in Kingston, and a house at Palm Beach, Florida.
He spent a lot of time in the company of a man identified only as Russell, quite clearly his boyfriend. The first trip together was a motor tour of England and Wales. Later they set off motoring together around Europe, visiting the South of France and Italy, travelling as far south as Naples and Capri. The couple also traveled together in Miami Beach and Hollywood.
The photographs offer an alluring peek into an era and a gay style of living long gone.
Source: The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography via Vintage Everyday, photos are in the public domain