The most famous courtesans



It is said that prostitution is one of the oldest professions. Is it any wonder that throughout history, so many women have chosen this path, which seems so easy? But you can sell yourself, your body and leisure in your company in many ways. Someone works in a brothel, but there is another side to the coin – geisha and courtesans. These women had more complex, glamorous and long relationships with men.

The most famous courtesans generally dealt with kings and nobles, who showered them with jewels. Each of these women was not just beautiful, but also smart. After all, it was not easy to get the attention and love of such important people. About the most famous courtesans and our story will go.


The most famous courtesans

Bark Pearl.

As is often the case with courtesans, they used the name not at all what they received at birth. Cora Pearl was born in English Plymouth, as Eliza Emma Crouch. For the first time she decided to engage in prostitution at the age of 20 years. The girl grew up severely in her grandmother’s house, one night she just ran away from there to London with an elderly man. He paid the young Englishman money for attention to himself. Then the girl firmly decided to become the mistress of a rich man, and not an ordinary prostitute. Her admirer was businessman Robert Bignell. And the peak of the courtesan’s career fell on Paris. There she threw Bignell, beginning to take courtship of the Duke du Rivoli and Prince Achilles Murat. Cora Pearl became famous for her parties, on which she appeared completely naked on a platter, as the main meal of the feast. In 1867, the woman even tried to force her opera Orpheus in Hell. In honor of the courtesans even called the drink “Tears of the Bark of Pearl”, which, strangely enough, is served today in some London hotels. Unfortunately, the sweet life could not last long. She lost all her brilliance and luxury, dying in a modest atmosphere at the age of about 50 years. Jos├ęphine Marcus.

The most famous courtesans

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For some courtesans, there was no difference – to be a mistress or a civil wife. This is exactly what happened with Josephine Marcus, who became famous for her book “I Won Uyetta Erpa.” Interestingly, this civil marriage over time overlapped with the previous one, on Matty Blaylock. Prior to her meeting with Erp, a famous lawyer and player, Josephine worked as a dancer and actress, there is no doubt that she was also a courtesan. It was said that she was the most beautiful woman of her time. Parents gave Josephine a good education, she knew how to dance and sing. Escaping at age 13, Marcus experienced many adventures. In her life there were cowboys and shootings with Indians, and with the troupe of the theater Markham the future courtesan toured in Arizona. At 14-15 years under the name of Sadie, the girl worked in a brothel. This phase of life was a bad dream for Josephine. And in 20 years, managed to break out of the vicious circle girl, met Erp. Already in 1882, Josefina began to call herself Erp, although records of marriage were never found. Notes courtesan became the basis for Westerns about the colorful hero of the Wild West. At one time this book was seriously considered as a historical document. But over time it turned out that Josephine had distorted a lot, but she preferred not to mention anything.

The most famous courtesans

Polly Adler.

This woman lived off the proceeds of prostitution, but only she herself had little to do with this unlikely occupation. The matter is that Polly the Urogen of the Russian Ivanovo has got to America in 12 years. At 19, Polly was in the higher world, began to communicate with the theater-goers, the inhabitant of Manhattan. Adler eventually became the most famous “madam” in New York in the 1920s-1940s. And in the underworld, she got by accident – it all started with the fact that the American just allowed one gangster and his girlfriend to use her apartment. And already the first open Adler brothel was under the protection of criminal structures. The shy madam was not at all – she was often seen in nightclubs in bright clothes.True, one day Polly had to really go underground for several months to avoid testifying in court against his familiar gangsters. At its best, the Adler brothel hosted politicians, gangsters, and poets. The courtesan took the mayor of New York Walker, the playwright Kaufman, the poet Dorothy Parker. All they were attracted by glamorous parties, held in rented apartments around the city. Thanks to connections and big bribes, Madame managed to keep her business. At the end of her life, Madame left work with the girls and wrote a bestseller, which provided her life.

The most famous courtesans

Barbara Payton.

Although prostitution is not a good part of a career, it happens that only such an occupation can feed a well-known person. That’s exactly what happened to actress Barbara Payton. After some success in the cinema, she was forced to engage in prostitution and become a courtesan. For the first time, the blonde appeared on television in 1949 in the film “In the trap,” then was “Say Goodbye to Tomorrow” with James Cagney in 1950. And the next year the actress starred in the low-grade horror film The Bride of the Gorilla. Payton began to drink and appear at parties with Hollywood bosses, as an accessible girl. She was married 4 times, her marriage period was from 53 days to 5 years. Among the lovers of Barbara were such well-known in Hollywood personage as Bob Hope and Howard Hughes. However, even the courtesan’s career quickly began to descend. As a result, the once promising actress was even arrested for trafficking in herself on Sunset Boulevard. And Barbara Payton died at the age of 39 from liver cancer.

The most famous courtesans

Mata Hari.

Another example of how changing a name can radically change the image and make it more glamorous. Margaret Gertrude Zella was born in 1876. She first went to school for rich children, but after her father’s bankruptcy at the age of 18, she married and left for Indonesia as the wife of Rudolph MacLeod. He himself turned out to be an alcoholic, moreover, openly contained a mistress, taking out dissatisfaction in life on his wife. Disappointed in her husband, Margareta went to another Dutch officer. She began to actively explore the local traditions, began to dance. In 1897, a 21-year-old woman first appeared under the pseudonym Mata Hari, which in the local language means “sun” or “eye of the day”. And in 1903 the couple returned to Europe, the marriage immediately disintegrated. Caught without money, Margaret Zelle went to conquer Paris itself. At first she acted as a circus rider, and then a dancer. Her performances were something like a modern striptease, after the number of Mata Hari remained almost completely naked. The courtesan herself quickly acquired star-like fans, besides, she claimed to be the eastern princess. At the beginning of the 20th century, interest in the East and erotica was fashionable in Europe. This served as the basis for the success of Mata Hari first in Paris, and then in other capitals of the continent. Gradually, the woman’s dancing career went into decline, but the number of rich fans did not decrease. Mata Hari received politicians, military men, and businessmen. Before the outbreak of the First World War, such an interesting person turned out to be recruited by German intelligence. During the fighting, the Dutch citizen freely moved around Europe. This, as well as the revelations of lovers, helped the courtesan to obtain information also for the French special services. But in the end the dangerous game ended sadly – in 1917 the courtesan was tried in Paris and shot.

The most famous courtesans

Laura Bell.

And prostitutes have something to strive for. Which of them would not want to have a big name, such as Laura Bell had? She was called the Queen of London fornication. Such a resounding title she received for the fact that the Prime Minister of Nepal did not regret 250 thousand pounds for the night with the courtesan. Although more believable is the version that so many politicians have spent on all gifts during their relationship with Laura.In the XIX century, Laura Bell was a very famous person in London, now they are called elite prostitutes. But after marrying Captain Frederick Thistlewhite, she struck faith and began preaching morality.

The most famous courtesans

Nicole D’Oliva.

While courtesans often communicate with high-ranking individuals, rarely when they directly influence the fate of the state. In the same case, the actions of D’Oliv led to a scandal that struck the French monarchy. That situation became known as “The Story with the Silver Necklace” or “The Necklace of the Queen”. Although Nicole called herself a Baroness, a Countess, Mademoiselle was born into a poor family. She became an early orphan, there was no one to protect her girlhood, so she started prostitution. The woman in search of clients began to appear in the Palais Royal, which then served as a modern shopping center. There she was noticed by a man who turned out to be Count de La Motte. He fascinated the young prostitute with tales of his position and the friendship of his wife with the queen herself, Maria Antoinette. The Count played a dangerous game – he decided, with the help of Nicole, to portray the Queen’s passion for Cardinal Louis de Rohan. At night the courtesan, representing the queen, gave her fan a rose and said that he would understand everything. Nicole herself explained that it was a joke that Maria Antoinette knew. Having received fifteen hundred francs, the woman chose not to ask questions. La Motte simply deceived the lover cardinal, taking money from him for the queen and even showing him a double. In the course of the conspiracy, the Count was even able to persuade the admirer to buy an expensive silver necklace for the queen. In 1785, deception was discovered, La Motte and his lieutenants were arrested, including Nicole. During the loud process the honor of the queen suffered, although she did not know anything about what was going on. People began to think that Marie Antoinette was really a windy person, and she was throwing money at her whims. The courtesan herself, being imprisoned in the Bastille, gave birth to even a child and died at the age of only 28, having managed to return to a moral life.

The most famous courtesans

Madame Dubarry.

This woman is without a doubt one of the most successful and famous in the history of courtesans. Marie Jeanne Becou was illegitimate daughter of the tax collector. In her youth, she managed to work as a prostitute, and among her clients was even the executioner Henri Samson, who executes Dubarri in the future. Then the young woman became a milliner, fell into the house of Count Dubarri. A happy star for her became the acquaintance with King Louis XV. He gave his favorite to marry his brother, Count Dubarri. Becoming the official favorite of the king, Madame Du Barry little interfered in politics. It was for her that she made a silver necklace, which played an evil role in the fate of Marie Antoinette. The very same courtesan at the court was very popular, dressing up in lush extravagant dresses and making the same unreal hairstyles. But the people hated it, considering it one of the symbols of insane luxury and waste. After the death of the king from smallpox, the courtesan moved to her castle, where she continued to live in luxury. But in 1793 she was arrested for contacting emigrants and Girondins and executed.

The most famous courtesans

Nell Gwyn.

The name of this courtesan, perhaps the most famous in history, is also associated with the king. In fact, Nell Gwyn was the mistress of the English monarch Charles II. According to legend, she was born in the attic, she sold fish in her youth, and then became a street singer. Fate gave her an excellent chance – it was seen by the actors of the royal theater and invited to join the troupe. Nell Gwyn was a comic actress just at the time when women just started to appear in the theater (before the women’s games played disguised men). Then the beauty took hold of Lord Dorset. When Charles II met Nell, he immediately lured her to him. Contemporaries called her beautiful and witty. The courtesan even gave birth to the king two sons, one of whom received the title of Count.That’s only on the throne, none of them did not claim, although the king did not have legal heirs. In politics, the favorite did not climb, just accepting the rich gifts of her admirer. And it was thanks to Nell Gwyn that the king was so pleased with his theater. Died favorite at a fairly young age, only 37 years. After herself, Nell Gwyn left a whole collection of anecdotes. One of them told that one day the crowd surrounded the coach with the King’s favorite, believing that there was a rival Gwyn, the Duchess of Portsmouth. However, the brave courtesan looked out the window and shouted: “Have mercy, good people! I am a Protestant whore. ”




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