|A cabinet card portrait of the actress and artist’s model Jeanne de Marsy.
The lady is presumably the same Jeanne de Marsy who appears in The Pretty Women of Paris, an anonymous guide to the city’s prostitutes, poules de luxe and courtesans, privately printed in 1883, with the subtitle ‘Their Names and Addresses, Qualities and Faults, being a Complete Directory or Guide to Pleasure for Visitors to the Gay City.’
According to this fascinating and salacious directory, she could be found at 19, avenue de Villiers. The guide goes on to inform its readers that ‘Should this mercenary charmer be out when you call, there is no need to turn away while yet hungry, as the house is inhabited by several other ladies in the same line of business….. Marsy is twenty-four, and looks like a cameo, being thin and having aristocratic features. Her hair is dyed fair and worn well off her noble forehead, but her bones are well covered with soft, warm, firm flesh. Directly she runs into a little ready cash she gets haughty, and goes about with her nose in the air, refusing to look at anybody and treating her poorer sisters in the trade like the dirt under her feet. Hence she is universally disliked, and hunts after her meat alone and unaided. Jeanne is indefatigable in bed, and amateurs will find her clean, and her shapely body well tended and perfumed. She is very reckless in monetary matters and is always in debt, having been seized and sold up quite recently.’
However, the article continues to say that the cocotte Jeanne de Marsy’s real name was ‘Jeanne Huart, but she does not like to be reminded of her plebeian denomination and extraction.’ Another source gives the real name of the actress Jeanne de Marsy as Anne Darlaud, so either one source is wrong or, less likely, there were two ladies with the same name in Paris at the same time.
Photographed by Chalot of 18, rue Vivienne, Paris.
According to Voignier’s Répertoire des photographes de France au dix-neuvième siècle, Isidore Alphonse Chalot succeeded Franck at this address during the 1880’s.
condition: Very fine.
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