“…Tell him, you are sure/All in Bohemia’s well”*

*Hermione in Act I, scene II of The Winter’s Tale

In answer to the question posted on Quora, Why did J.K. Rowling name Hermione “Hermione”?, a contributor quotes the author’s own words:

Hermione’s name is from Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale, but “my Hermione bears very little relation to *that* Hermione, but it just seemed the sort of name that a pair of professional dentists, who liked to prove how clever they were … do you know what I mean … gave their daughter a nice, unusual name that no-one could pronounce!”

From Wikipedia:

“In ancient Greek myth, Hermione (Princess of Hermes, derived from the Greek messenger god Hermes) is the daughter of Spartan King Menelaus and his wife Helen.”

Hermione Lee, biographer:

“…just as lives don’t stay still, so life-writing can’t be fixed and finalised. Our ideas are shifting about what can be said, our knowledge of human character is changing.”

London’s National Portrait Gallery holds a bromide print, 1949, of a photograph of Hermione Gingold and Hermione Baddeley by Angus McBean. On their website this note is attached:

“Hermione Gingold first appeared on stage as a child in 1908, but became best known for her appearance in the revue Sweet and Low (1943), which was followed by several sequels including Sweetest and Lowest (1946). One of her last performances was in Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music. Hermione Baddeley also made a name for herself in revue, appearing in Nine Sharp (1938), for which McBean made one of his surreal portraits, before turning to serious roles. In the 1960s she appeared in America in Shelagh Delaney’s A Taste of Honey (1961) and Tennessee Williams’s The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore (1964). The friendly rivalry between the two Hermiones required a theatre poster which could show that both stars had top billing in a revival of Noël Coward’s play, Fallen Angels. McBean’s ingenious solution was to make a photograph of them lying down head to head, which could be printed either way up.”

The Victoria and Albert Museum website provides notes on Theatrical Revue, including Revue after 1940:

“By the 1940s and 1950s the style of revue had become light, charming and witty. The famous wartime revues were ‘Sweet and Low’, ‘Sweeter and Lower’ and ‘Sweetest and Lowest’ starring Hermione Gingold and Hermione Baddeley. Stars of 1950’s revues included Ian Carmichael and Joyce Grenfell. Bamber Gascoigne’s one famous revue ‘Share My Lettuce’ included Maggie Smith and Kenneth Williams in the cast. Michael Flanders and Donald Swann contributed songs to many revues and eventually became performers themselves, singing their own songs around the world in ‘At the Drop of a Hat’. Even Harold Pinter was a revue sketch writer.

‘The Punch Revue’ in 1955 included poems by Louis MacNeice, W H Auden and John Betjeman, set to music by composers such as Benjamin Britten, Larry Adler and Donald Swann. Nearly 30 years before ‘Cats’, two T S Eliot poems from Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats were dramatised in a revue and performed by two dancers.

Most famous of the 1950’s revues was ‘Cranks’, devised by choreographer John Cranko with designs by John Piper.”

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