25 Stunning Photographs Of Countess De Castiglione

The 19th-century Italian aristocrat, better known as as La Castiglione, was an iconic model, muse, mistress, narcissist, and queen of drama. Daphne Guinness, eat your heart out.

Virginia Oldoini, Countess of Castiglione (1837 – 1899), was a beautiful 19th-century Italian aristocrat.

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1. Upon moving to Paris in 1855, she achieved notoriety…

The Opera Ball

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2. …as a mistress of Emperor Napoleon III of France.

The Opera Ball

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3. She was known for her great beauty…

La Marquise Mathilde

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4. …vanity…

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5. …and eccentricity.

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6. The countess spent her fortune on elaborate dresses…

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7. …and costumes.

The Queen of Hearts

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8. Often making flamboyant entrances into society parties.


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9. Which shocked Parisian high society.

Anne Boleyn

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10. But it was in the world of photography…


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11. …where the countess left her real legacy.

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12. She served as a model…


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13. …muse…

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14. …and collaborator…

The White Nun

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15. …of imperial court photographer Pierre-Louis Pierson.

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16. Unlike most models, though…

La Dogaresse

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17. …The countess dictated all aspects of her photos….

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18. …creating the scenarios…

Elvira at the Cheval Glass

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19. …and characters herself.

Ermitage de Passy

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20. The countess spent a large part of her personal fortune on the photos.

La Comtesse in Chinese Robe

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21. Even going into debt to execute her project.

La Grayeur

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22. Over her 40-year collaboration with Pierson…

Reine d’Etrurie

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23. ….the countess appeared in more than 700 photographs.


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24. Leaving behind beautiful…

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25. …and surreal photos.


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Biographical information via: The New York Times and Wikipedia.

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