(I haven’t seen this or any other pictures of him on Tumblr, so I’ll probably post more of them later.)
From Beniah Brawn’s Flickr album:
A few years ago I acquired four photograph albums which had once belonged to an Englishman by the name of Richard Colley, known as ‘Dick’ or ‘Dickie’ to his many friends. One of the albums, the earliest, is bound in red morocco and leather; the next two albums are bound in crocodile, one brown and one tan; and the last album is bound in dark blue leather. Only the photographs in the first and last albums are captioned and dated. The first album covers the period 1922 to 1925. Some photographs in the last album are dated 1932 and 1933. The other two albums cover the period in-between.
Richard Colley enjoyed a privileged lifestyle of holidays, afternoon parties, receptions and costumed balls, interspersed with trips to the races and to the theatre. Unfortunately, many of his friends in the album are unidentified, but it is clear that he knew Dorothy Gish, Gaby Deslys, Harry Pilcer, Beatrice de Bourbon, and the former Queen of Italy. It is possible that he himself enjoyed a brief career as a dancer or in silent films. It is also possible that Colley was not his original surname. Preliminary research suggests that he was born Douglas Colley Best.
A number of different homes appear in the albums, including Richard’s childhood home, The Grange at Canon Pyon in Herefordshire, where his parents still lived. He himself had a flat in London at 107, Queen’s Gate, Kensington. He spent time in the early 1930s at Warren Cottage in Kingston, and he also had a house at Palm Beach in Florida. Many photographs show the exterior and interior of all these homes.
Holidays featured in the album were largely taken in the early 1930s with a man identified only as Russell, clearly his boyfriend. The first trip together was a motor tour of England and Wales. Shortly afterwards they set off together around Europe, visiting the South of France, Monte Carlo and many locations in Italy, travelling as far south as Naples and Capri. The two men also crossed the Atlantic and spent time together in Miami Beach and Hollywood.
Although Russell can be seen in one photograph in the first album, he seems to have become Richard’s boyfriend only after the passage of several years. In the interim, Richard appears to have had at least two other lovers, both of whom accompanied him to many costumed balls, sometimes in drag. Some of the outfits make it difficult to discern which sitter is Richard and which is a friend or lover, while in some photographs it’s only with difficulty that one can identify the gender of the person photographed.