I am not the kind of people who likes to break myths, but in this case I am afraid someone has unmasked an impostor.
It seems that the only known portrait of Sophie Cracroft, (you know who she is, Lady Franklin´s niece who accompanied her untiringly all around the world), doesn´t belong her. Through a searching I was conducting through Pinterest I have stumbled upon this picture which gives us information about the true name of the pretty girl depicted in that allegedly Sophie´s portrait.
Apparently the woman in the portrait is called Alphonsine Plessis and it was painted by Édouard Viénot. She was a French courtesan born in 1824 ans was the mistress of some important men of the time. She was too the inspiration who embodied Marguarite Gautier from The Dame aux Camelies by Alexander Dumas.
If you "Googleized" the name Alphonsine Plessis in The Internet, then other portraits will appear with women on them whose countenances coincide with our Sophie.
|Alphonsine PlessisFrom Scandolous woman blogspot|
So, this adds a little bit more mystery to her already enough mysterious character. If this is true, which it seems to be, then the only known portrait of her is that photo oon which she appears with Lady Franklin. That one which Russell Potter identified some time ago.
Alphonsine´s body lies in Montmartre´s cemetery far from Kensal Cemetery, the place where the actual Sophie was buried. Hers was a much shorter life than Sophie´s and judging from what I have read about her infinitely much less interesting.