A Victorian heroine in Venice

Judith Harris

This is the extraordinary saga of Countess Evelina van Millingen Pisani, a modern woman who lived in the age of Queen Victoria. A friend of Henry James and Isabella Stewart Gardner, she led a rich but turbulent life that spanned from Rome to Constantinople and Venice.
Date Published :
July 2017
Publisher :
Fonthill Media
Illustration :
black and white photographs
Format Available    QuantityPrice
ISBN : 9781781555934
Pages : 176
Dimensions : 9.25 X 6.15 inches
In stock


Evelina van Millingen Pisani was a modern woman in the age of Queen Victoria. She was born in Constantinople in 1831 to an eccentric French mother and an English father, who was a doctor accused of having murdered Lord Byron. Educated in Papal Rome until the age of eighteen, she was whisked back to Constantinople by her father, now working for the sultan. While visiting Venice, this striking beauty of twenty-two met and married the wealthy Count Pisani. Evelina became an exotic star in the firmament of wealthy American and English socialites, artists, and writers, for whom the artistic decadence of Venice was an antidote to the factories, materialism, and homophobic laws they saw at home. In her circle of friends were Isabella Stewart Gardner and an admiring Henry James. When her husband died after twenty-seven years of marriage, the grieving countess unexpectedly found herself saddled with his mortgage debts. Inheriting the vast but rundown Pisani estate in the misty flatlands near Padua, Evelina took full charge. Becoming a hands-on farmer, she restored swampland, built an English garden, and created a model farm for hundreds of tenant farmers. Through it all, she remained a pillar in the admiring Venetian set.

About The Author

Judith Harris is the author of 'Pompeii Awakened, A Story of Rediscovery' (London: I. B. Tauris, 2007, 2014), and of 'The Monster in the Closet' (Franklin, Tennessee: American History Imprints, 2012). As a freelance American journalist based in Rome, she has been a regular contributor to 'ARTnews', 'Current Archaeology', 'Time' magazine, 'The Wall Street Journal' and the on-line magazine 'i-italy.org'. She was included in a Peabody Broadcasting Award for her work on the TV documentary 'The Man Who Shot the Pope: A Study in Terrorism' which aired on NBC. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, she is a graduate of Northwestern University, Evanston.

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