A Woman to Know: Fanny Eaton

What makes one woman a stunner and another not? historian Roberto C. Ferrari

(image via Princeton University Art Museum)
In group frescoes and murals, Fanny stood alongside beauties of the era, pale-skinned debutantes dressed as Athena and Eve and ancient warriors. She posed for "exotic" paintings of Roman goddesses, Indian empresses and Biblical heroines.

When Fanny's mother was emancipated from slavery in the 1840s, she and her daughter moved to London. There, Fanny married a cab driver and began working as as a servant in the houses of wealthy socialites. In some of these houses, her face captivated the painters in their studios.

Fanny died in London some time in the later 19th century, but her face has traveled around the world: in oil and in charcoal and in art history textbooks everywhere.

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