The Ladies Gazette

La Païva, the dark charm of the Second Empire’s most famous Courtesan

Esther Lachmann, better known as La Païva, was the most famous of 19th century French courtesans.

An investor and jewellery collector, she had a tough personality and was an incredible careerist.

Rising from modest circumstances in her native Russia to become one of the most famous women in mid-19th century France, and eventually marrying one of the richest men in Europe, Lachmann held a popular literary salon in the Hôtel de la Païva in Paris.

Hortense de Beauharnais Queen of Holland, Napoleon’s stepdaughter and sister-in-law

Hortense de Beauharnais was Queen Consort of Holland. She was the stepdaughter of Emperor Napoleon I as the daughter of his first wife, Joséphine de Beauharnais.

Hortense married Napoleon's brother, Louis Bonaparte, who had been appointed king of Holland, thus becoming her stepfather's sister-in-law.

She was the mother of the future Emperor of the French, Napoleon III.

The other Lady Diana Spencer, between adultery, divorce and art

There was another Lady Diana Spencer in history, born in 1734, an English noblewoman and famous artist.

She divorced her first husband and married her lover, who was, however, no better than her first.

A cultured woman, she had important friendships among artists and intellectuals of the time and was herself a painter, designer and illustrator.

Helen Vincent Viscountess d’Abernon, not just Sargent’s portrait

Helen Venetia Vincent, Viscountess D'Abernon was a British noblewoman, socialite and diarist.

A woman of great beauty, intelligence and charm, with strong diplomatic skills, she was very active in the intellectual group the 'Souls' and a courageous and tireless nurse during the First World War.

The great painter John Singer Sargent portrayed her in 1904 at Palazzo Giustiniani in Venice.

Maria Theresa Countess of Artois, relationship with Marie Antoinette

Maria Theresa of Savoy was a member of the French royal family due to her status as 'Countess of Artois' as wife of Charles Philippe of France.

Endowed with little wit and beauty, Maria Theresa remained one of the least loved members of the royal family at Court.

Let's discover her history and relationship with her most famous sister-in-law, Marie Antoinette of France.

The Spanish women of the Romantic painter Federico de Madrazo

Crinolines, lace and frills, flowers, jewels and crowns, magical atmospheres and languid poses, gloves, fans and embroidered handkerchiefs, these are the romantic details of one of the greatest Spanish portrait painters of the 19th century, Federico de Madrazo y Kunz.

Son and father of artists, Federico de Madrazo certainly had a great ability to capture the textures of clothing and to generate a realistic atmosphere in his works, creating his own creative language that he succeeded in instilling in subsequent generations of painters.

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