This portrait and the "Portrait in a Black Dress" are undoubtedly among the earliest made by Pierson. The Countess is still childish, her coiffure "à la Ceres" is demure and her evening gown unostentatious: the white dress with double skirt and heart-shaped neckline is half-hidden under a long veil "à la vestale" which is pinned to her hair and falls low over her skirt.
The Countess had the photograph painted by Aquilin Schad, one of the best painters working for the firm of Mayer & Pierson, in all probability sometime after her return to Paris in 1861. Another early portrait, "Milan", dating from July 1856, was to undergo the same treatment. The two painted portraits, facing each other, were photographed on a single negative, now lost. They are known through a modern print in the Mayer & Pierson archive. [PA; "La Divine Comtesse", p. 166-7]
Other photographs from the same provenance are now in the Alinari Collection, Florence. [Alteveer/IFA]