Monday, August 1, 2016

Meet Cora Pearl ...

Cora Pearl  was a 19th-century courtesan of the French demimonde who enjoyed her greatest celebrity during the period of the Second French Empire.Working as a street prostitute, she made a connection with a procurer, a “Monsieur Roubisse,” who set her up in more suitable quarters, taught her the business rudiments of her new trade and tutored her in refining and broadening her repertoire of professional skills. After six years, she despaired of ever freeing herself from his all-encompassing influence. However, fate stepped in, the procurer died of a heart attack, liberating Emma.
 Cora Pearl (1835 - 1886)
Her first lover of distinction was the multi-titled, twenty-five-year-old Victor Masséna, third Duke du Rivoli, and later fifth Prince of Essling. He set her up in opulence, showering her with money, jewels, servants and a private chef. He provided her with funds for gambling when she visited the casinos and racecourse in the fashionable resort of Baden, Germany. He bought her the first horse she ever owned, and she became an accomplished equestrienne; it was said “she rode like an Amazon” and “was kinder to her horses than her lovers.” Her liaison with Masséna lasted five years. While cultivating Masséna, she was simultaneously sharing her favors with Prince Achille Murat, a man much older than Masséna.

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.
 In 1864, Pearl rented a chateau in the region of the Loiret. Known as the Chateau de Beauséjour (“beautiful sojourn”), it was a luxuriously appointed residence of stained glass windows, costly decorations and immaculately maintained interiors and grounds. Her boudoir boasted a custom-made bronze bathtub monogrammed with her intertwined initials. The château was conceived for gala entertainments. There were rarely fewer than fifteen guests at the dinner table, and the chef was instructed to spare no cost on the expenditure for food. Pearl was known for devising entertainments of an unexpected and outrageous theatricality, of which she invariably was the star attraction. On one such evening, she dared the group assembled around the dinner table “to cut into the next dish” about to be served. The meal’s next course was Cora Pearl herself, presented lying naked on a huge silver platter, sprinkled with parsley, and carried in by four large men.
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)


Unknown said...

Very interesting , thanks for sharing

peggy gatto said...

Fascinating!!! Thank you!!!

peggy gatto said...

She reminds me of actress Jennifer Jones!!

Jocelyn said...

I knew her name as a courtesan but not the extent of her fame. Interesting.

Beverly said...

Wow, Cora Pearl had it going on, didn't she?! She was a beautiful woman, making it easy to imagine how so many were taken by her "charms".

I hope all is well with you, Tristan. My e-mails to you are always returned. Do you have a new e-mail address?

Nichola said...


Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

HOW DID I MISS THIS! My blog roll is not bumping up new posts for me lately! Tristan, you are right; we think celebrities today are involved in such scandals, but WOW, Miss Cora! Lovely prose my dear Tristan and a joy to read you! Thank you so much for coming to visit my post and to hop on over to Vicki's to read. She honored me so much by beginning her series with MOI....and that chair my friend! I HAVE TWO OF THEM! I bought them at a local antique shoppe and Kelly at A Rare Bird Antiques always has a loot of gorgeous antiques. They are old, tattered silk and PERFECT. You may pin, please, please, PIN to your board!!!! Much love to you and I hope you are well! Anita

A Magical Whimsy said...

Talk about a refined mistress! What a life Cora Pearl lived. I can see Elizabeth Taylor in Cora, and also, possibly Jennifer Lawrence. My mother likened me to Elizabeth Taylor when I was younger...the dark hair, the fair skin, and I was naive, and didn't even know that so many young men had fallen for me, until I was very much into my married years. Ah! Life! Ignorance is sometimes bliss, or protection from too many admirers. Thank you for sharing about this amazing lady!
Teresa in California
Miss Vanessa had her Mad Tea Party at her A Fanciful Twist site... I missed seeing you there!

L said...

Omg YES I LEGIT WAS SEARCHING EVERYWHERE TO SEE if cora pearl is related to Elizabeth Taylor and what make sit even more suspicious is that cora pearls real name is "Emma elizabeth crouch" which makes me think if that is her great grandmother or something that she was named after.