Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Multiples: Daisey and Violet Hilton

I thought I would participate in my first ever illustration friday post with the topic of multiples. This painting of Daisey and Violet Hilton is one of my favorites from my book. Throughout their lives, Daisey and Violet attracted drama times two. Together they went through marriages, divorces, business failures and even had brief stints as Hollywood stars.

Daisey and Violet were born in England in 1908. Born as conjoined twins, they were attached to the hip and buttocks. They toured as sideshow acts from the age of 3 but our best known for their roles in the movies Freaks and Chained for Life. (Freaks was panned by critics and Chained for Life was banned in many places due to its content. )

Their marriages were about as successful as their movie careers. Daisey was married to vaudeville dancer Harold Estep for an everlasting two weeks. And Violet married her dance partner, James Walker "Jim" Moore, but got divorced a few years later.

In 1952, the Hilton twins opened a hamburger stand called The Hilton Sisters' Snack Bar. But that too was doomed to failure for people did not want to be served food by two "freaks". Sadly, the two sisters died penniless in their trailer from the Hong kong Flu.

Thus, I have painted the Hilton twins as two grumpy, young brats gravely unhappy with their role as side show novelty acts.

Here is a far more cheery vaudeville poster advertising their act as young girls. As mentioned in my book, they sang, dance and played instruments as part of their show.

Taylor, James & Hotcher, Kathleen. Shocked and Amazed! On and Off the Midway. The Lyons Press, 2002


Valerie Lorimer said...

I absolutely love this illustration, Carlyn! Can't wait to spend more time looking at your blog and website.

Toni said...

ROCK ON THIS IS SO GOOOOD! I wanted to do a 'twin' piece for this because I have twin brothers, but they said no, it's too easy for you, you MUST challenge yourself. I am crazy about the -- feeling of historicity you achieved, the coloration, -- it truly resembles an old poster, and I love the story.

Carolyn said...

Beautifully done!

Diandra Mae said...

ooh, your work has such a dark, vintage feel to it. Fantastic details.

Anonymous said...

There are no known relatives of the Hilton (Daisy and Violet) sisters today.

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