High Class Courtesans & Escorts In Fine Art: London to Paris

High class escorts from the georgian period
William Hogarth Rake’s Progress

Georgian London, it brings out memories of elegance, fine art and high class culture.  The scene from William Hogarth Rake’s Progress above depicts the life of a bawdy life full of fulsome fun. However underneath it all is the story of how the escorts of the 18th century secretly influenced the London financial landscape.

These scenes of the old bawdy house are a far cry from the modern high class escorts in London using the slick marketing servicing of escort agencies running businesses all online. See source elitecityescorts.com

Teeming with escorts from street walkers to high class escorts retained by dukes and other English nobility, Georgian London was a city that was built on the escort trade

Picassos work on high class escorts
Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, oil on canvas, 1907 | © cea +/Flickr

In his book “The Secret History of Georgian London: How The Wages Of Sin Shaped The Capital” historian Dan Cruickshank describes how these escorts influenced he architecture of modern London. From the new elegant streets of Marlyebone to the dirty alleys of Charing Cross. He believes from his research that over 62,500 “Harlots” were working in London during the 1700, overtaking other European cities to claim the title of Sin City.

These escorts were organised by very wealthy pimps, the entire industry generated £20 million (£1.5 billion in terms of today’s money)

London’s escorts at that time were divided into three categories, those that worked on the streets and would sell their services for a “a pint of wine and a shilling”. Next were the ladies that worked from rooms or bawdy house. Some charged by the hour or acts wanted, depending on the punter

Last but not least were the really high end escorts, the elite of all the girls working in Town. They worked in fashionable brothels similar to the brothels in Paris.

However during the early 1800’s London was knocked off her pedestal as sin city of Europe due to the arrival of street lighting and modern day policing. With the arrival of the Victorian era and new perspectives of morality meant that the escort industry of the 1800’s went underground

While London was gradually cleaning up its act, in France specially paris there was a huge interest in using working girls or high class escorts as muses.

Henri Gervex, Rolla, oil on canvas, 1878 | © Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux/WikiCommons
Henri Gervex, Rolla, oil on canvas, 1878 | © Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux/WikiCommons

The French poet Charles Baudelair once stated “ What is art? ProstitutionP”. Throughout the ages artists have used the female form for their paintings and works, however the French artists took a whole new level of making the high class escort their inspiration, their muse

Some famous artists that have used high class escorts as their muse include, Édouard Manet Blunt Olmypia, Picasso’s Demoiselles d’Avignon and Vincent van Gogh’s Sien ( A beautiful work of art, no matter the subject