161031 History Talk 31st Oct: Famous and Infamous Courtesans of the 18th Century

Date: Monday 31st October 2016 10:30

Location: Salón de Actos, Espai la Senieta, Moraira (next to the large free car park)

Subject: Some Famous and Infamous Courtesans of the 18th Century

Lecturer: Mike Rendell

The talk looks at the role of the courtesan in the Georgian era. Nowadays think Kardashians, WAGS and Super-models; back then, think of the Toasts of the Town – the high class hookers who counted Princes, Dukes and Earls among their circle of admirers, their portraits painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds and then bought as pin-ups via the new-fangled mezzotint process. They were the fashion icons of the day and what they wore and how they did their hair and make-up was swiftly copied by anyone interested in fashion. They flaunted their popularity and wealth, charging “signing on fees” which would really sort out the men from the boys!
The talk will include a look at the lives of some of the pre-eminent  courtesans and how they lived their lives like shooting stars. The word “Celebrity” wasn’t in use, but they were in all senses the celebrities of their time.  In the full glare of publicity they flaunted their lifestyle – and frequently died young. The talk will be illustrated by  many of their famous portraits painted at the time.

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