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Retro Rambles: The Countess of Castiglione

Earlier this summer, I purchased my first book about vintage photography called Icons of Photography: The 19th Century. I got it from an Amazon seller at a low price, used but in good conditions. A great bargain!

On the cover of this book is a rather obscure but highly attractive ‘photo model’. She’s the Countess of Castiglione. I had only discovered her a few weeks prior my purchase, and I was obsessing on finding more material about her because her life encompassed several factors that I love about history and biographies: aristocracy, scandals and quirkiness.

All I found was a biography written by Robert de Montesquiou in the early 20th century, which is extremely rare to find, and La Divine Comtesse, a photo catalogue with biographical details and critiques from the Metropolitan Museum of Arts Series. I couldn’t afford to buy this one, but I was elated to receive it as a birthday gift from Matt in August.

Thus began my discovery of this enigmatic figure of the Second Empire.

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