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Paul César Helleu. 1859-1927.

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Lady Carnarvon. c. 1901. Drypoint. 15 1/8 x 10 1/4 (sheet 17 5/8 x 12 5/8). Slight toning and mat line; otherwise fine condition. A rich impression printed on white wove paper. Signed, numbered in pencil and annotated 'Tireé à 10, planche detruite' (10 impressions printed, plate destroyed). Edition 10, #3. $3,500.

Almina Victoria Marie Alexandra Wombell was the illegitimate child of Alfred de Rothschild, but grew up loved and pampered. She maintained a loving relationship with her father, who was exceptionally wealthy. The Carnarvon family needed an influx of money to maintain their estate at Highclere Castle. Almina, wealthy and accomplished, fell in love with George Edward Stanhope Molyneux Herbert, the future 5th Earl of Carnarvon. Later, he became famous for excavating Tutankhamon's tomb.

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The two lived a glamorous life set against the increasing tensions of a pre-World War I. When it quickly became obvious England was entering the war, Almina used her influence and wealth to turn Highclere Castle into a hospital for wounded soldiers. Her approach of individual care, home cooked meals, and holistic ideas were revolutionary at that time, and she found a natural talent for nursing. For four she worked at both Highclere and later in London, establishing another hospital and gathering the best equipment and talent to help heal the wounded soldiers.

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