Cora Pearl (1835 - 1886)
By 1860, Pearl was one of the most celebrated courtesans in Paris. She was the mistress of notable aristocrats, the Prince of Orange, heir to the throne of the Netherlands, Ludovic, Duc de Grammont-Caderousse, and more significantly Charles Duc de Morny, who was the half-brother of the Emperor Napoleon III. The Emperor’s brother generously contributed to the opulent life Pearl demanded.
Her most dedicated benefactor and enduring admirer was Napoléon Joseph Charles Paul Bonaparte, the Emperor’s distinguished cousin. She met the extremely wealthy prince in 1868 when he was forty-two years old. Their liaison lasted nine years, the longest relationship in Pearl’s career. He bought her several homes, one a veritable palace: “les Petites Tuileries.”
In 1860, Pearl made an appearance at a masquerade ball attended by the elite of Parisian society. She caused a sensation as a scantily costumed Eve, whose degree of nudity diverged little from the biblical original. Invariably enthusiastic about exhibiting her physical charms to an audience, she took the role of a singing Cupid in the Jacques Offenbach operetta Orphée aux Enfers, (Orpheus in the Underworld) performed at the Theatre Bouffes-Parisien in 1867. It was written that “Cora Pearl made an appearance half-naked on the stage. That evening the Jockey Club in its entirety, graced the theatre. All the names…of French nobility were there…It was a success of a kind…” The chronicle of the evening continued, “Apparently the beautiful Cora Pearl had already munched up a brochette (“skewer”) of five or six historical fortunes with her pretty white teeth.
Cora Pearl and Prince Achille Murat(1865)
The high point of Pearl’s career as courtesan were the years 1865-1870. In his biography of Pearl, The Pearl From Plymouth (1950), author W. H. Holden writes that there is evidence that Pearl regularly sent money to both her mother in England and father in America. For Cora Pearl, money was for spending, for accumulating the luxuries of life and buying her way to a coveted perch in the upper echelons of society. Her jewel collection alone was valued at some one million francs; at one point, she owned three homes, and her clothing was made for her by the renowned couturier Charles Frederick Worth. As her career prospered, the gifts from her suitors needed to be both costly and imaginative. She pitted her admirers against one other, raising the price for her favors as the game between competitors escalated. In her heyday, she was able to command as much as ten thousand francs for an evening with her.
...and we think celebrities are scandalous today!
Thanks for visiting Enchanted Revelries and spending a few minutes with Cora Pearl and myself ...
now, go make something beautiful!
(¸.•´♥ Tristan ♥
(Special Thanks to The Vintage News)