King Louis XV may have commissioned the “marquise cut” diamond as a scandalous homage to his beloved mistress. Pompadour had so much sway over the king that she got him to give her brother a noble title too. Louis XV now began to take other mistresses, but Madame de Pompadour was more firmly established than ever before; favours, promotions, and privileges could be obtained only through her good offices. Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, marquise de Pompadour. And as though that’s not bad enough, some historians believe the poem had an even crueller meaning. But even that wasn’t enough. However, the “secret” staircase didn’t stay secret for long. In those days rich men, even if they came from a low class, were interested in art and literature, and they expected their wives to share these interests. The answer is simple: She was beautiful. He made sure that their rooms were connected by a secret winding staircase so that he could covertly visit Pompadour whenever he liked. Although Louis’s son, daughters, and wife supported the Jesuits, Madame de Pompadour did not. Her father, François Poisson, involved in a black-market scandal, had to flee the country in 1725; his beautiful wife and two small children were then looked after by a more fortunate colleague, Le Normant de Tournehem. The seer allegedly foretold that Pompadour “would one day reign over the heart of a king.” Pompadour would fulfill that prophecy, but her path to the top would be anything but smooth. When little Pompadour became ill and rushed home to recover, a mysterious man stepped in to help the young girl: the handsome tax collector Le Normant de Tournehem. She even went on a bizarre celery, truffle, and vanilla diet to try to feel more “in the mood.” Unsurprisingly, this nauseating combination of flavors did not end up doing anything to help the royal mistress feel randy. Of course, once inside their humble abode, all the “rustic” jugs and bowls were actually made of incredibly expensive materials. To this day, no one knows what caused Chateuroux’s demise, but she went to the grave insisting on a dark explanation: She firmly believed that she had been poisoned. On her suggestion, her brother was appointed director of the king’s buildings and created marquis de Marigny; the brother, the sister, and Louis XV, working in perfect harmony, planned and built the École Militaire and the Place Louis XV (now the Place de la Concorde) in Paris, most of the palace of Compiègne, the Petit Trianon Palace at Versailles, a new wing at the palace of Fontainebleau, and the exquisite Château de Bellevue, as well as many pavilions and summer houses. When Pompadour was 19 years old, her guardian and possibly her secret father, Le Normant de Tournehem, came to her with a proposition. He and his mistress patronized all forms of decorative art: painters, sculptors, cabinetmakers, and craftsmen worked under the royal eye; the famous porcelain factory was built at Sèvres. That involved far more than just a pretty face. She received an invitation to a masked ball at the Palace of Versailles, proving that her overt flirting at the king’s hunt had worked its magic. Ouch…. According to the gossip on the streets of France, Le Normant wasn’t just a family friend. I would not be so calm if I saw some pretty woman of the court or the capital trying to conquer it.” But as we’ll see, there were far more reasons for her to be so relaxed about Louis’ side pieces. In June 1745, she became the Marquise of the estate called Pompadour. She just didn’t mention one little detail: Pompadour’s new digs were even fancier and more expensive than her old place. Pompadour was deeply engaged in arts and culture, and one of her project was editing the first French Encyclopedia by her frenemy Diderot and his co-writer d’Alembert. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Apparently, Madame de Pompadour’s mom got around. Her favorite foods were chocolate, champagne, and truffle soup. The young couple was perfect on paper, but in practice, things wouldn’t be so rosy…. Amid all Madame de Pompadour’s missteps, she and the king really did share a deep connection. It’s safe to say the people weren’t thrilled. For real. Their purple uniforms gained them the nickname the “Pompadours” apparently because it had been her favorite color. While working for your lover’s wife would have been a nightmare for anyone else, Pompadour managed to get the most of the awkward situation. Rival courtiers interpreted Louis’ love for his mistress not as genuine affection, but as weakness. In 1744 Louis XV’s young mistress, the duchesse de Châteauroux, died suddenly. The protector of most of the authors and the editor of the Encyclopédie, she would have liked to do for literature what she did for the arts, but the king had no literary interests and disliked the intellectuals whom he knew. It turns out that the little girl didn’t have just two contenders for her biological father. Even when the public demanded that Pompadour get the heck out of Versailles, she managed to swing a deal in her favor. In this portrait, the last ever painted of her, she is presented as a respectable, cultured, middle-aged woman, who gazes confidently at the viewer. While this claim could very well be idle speculation or even slander against Pompadour, it would explain Le Normant’s strangely generous treatment of the young girl…. Both children were clever, and the girl was fascinating; she was educated to be the wife of a rich man. When Jeannette Poisson was young, she gained a suggestive nickname that would stay with her for the rest of her eventful life: Reinette, which means “little queen.” For anyone else, this moniker would be a coy joke, but not Madame de Pompadour. Your suggestions can be as general or specific as you like, from “Life” to “Compact Cars and Trucks” to “A Subspecies of Capybara Called Hydrochoerus Isthmius.” We’ll get our writers on it because we want to create articles on the topics you’re interested in. The violent uprising would see Louis’ son beheaded at the guillotine. How did she gain the eye of the king? He also hired expensive tutors to educate Pompadour at home. In 1764, Madame de Pompadour began to feel unwell. Pompadour became the king’s official mistress by March of 1745, when she took up her abode in the Palace of Versailles. This is where Charles drops out of history…and where Pompadour’s story kicks into high gear. Desperate, the doomed financier went into exile in 1725 and couldn’t come home until the charges were cleared eight long years later. Some of these people made immense fortunes, but many ended in the gutter if not in prison. But apparently, there’s a hidden meaning to the hue: It wasn’t just Pompadour’s favorite color, it was the color of her undergarments. View the entire National Gallery Collection online. For Pompadour, this was as good as a death sentence. During his affair with Pompadour, he sated his physical desires on the side with casual sojourns in his “Parc-aux-Cerfs” or “Stag Park,” a building specifically for the king’s affairs. By the time Mademoiselle Poisson was of an age to marry, she could hold her own in any society and had made friends with many distinguished men, including Voltaire. After Pompadour’s death, tributes poured in from all over France. The Treaty of Versailles made waves in 18th century Europe and one of its biggest developments was turning the former enemies of France and Austria into allies. It seemed like an innocent activity, but the truth wasn’t so simple: Pompadour would meet with world leaders and negotiate power while demurely embroidering. Artistic and political collaboration with Louis,, The National Gallery, London - The Real Madame de Pompadour. Pompadour gave the queen a golden snuffbox that Louis had originally given to Pompadour. She could always help him through his bad days and cheer him up. Their little son passed away just a year after his birth and their daughter, Alexandrine Le Normant D’Etiolles, died of a stomach illness in 1755. But don’t worry, it didn’t go to waste. It might have been true. She had three. Charles thought things couldn’t get worse, but he was wrong. She played a huge role in making the city the “capital of taste and culture in Europe.”. Even so, there is a dark detail about Pompadour’s involvement in the War and it involves a now-famous quotation. The couple would travel to one of their many countryside estates, go hunting, walk around nature, and live the simple life. She was nine years old. But that’s not the full story…, The irony is that while Pompadour’s responsibility for France’s defeat was indirect at best, it is historical fact that Pompadour supported a number of important ministers such as Bertin and Machaut. Meet extraordinary women who dared to bring gender equality and other issues to the forefront. Do you ever wonder how Paris got a reputation for being such a fancy, cultured place? But his clever costume had nothing on Pompadour’s…. You can bet that didn’t go down well in the Tourneham family. Four years after her arrival, she caught such a dangerous bout of whooping cough that she had no choice but to go back home, where her mother’s disturbing plan kicked into gear. With that done, she made Louis give his wife’s apartments a stylish renovation. Everyone at the court knew Maurepas’ scandalous double meaning: He alleged that Pompadour’s nether regions produces a thick, odorous discharge. Madame de Pompadour’s amorous legacy is alive and well even to this day. At Factinate, we’re dedicated to getting things right. But what do we really know about this fascinating woman? Although the king deeply grieved at Pompadour’s death, court protocol forbade him from attending her funeral. Madame de Pompadour’s 20 years of power marked the very apogee of taste in France. Pompadour’s enemies immediately pounced on the opportunity to malign her. It turned out that her father, Francois Poisson, was deeply in debt. More importantly, how did she keep it? But sadly, there was one thing they’re never share: a child. Charles and Pompadour’s marriage was controversial from the very beginning. But after her death, the truth came out: Her so-called friend hated her guts. They whispered that the king “only loves her for her staircase”…also known as her bedroom-based charms. She was just 42 years old, but she had lived a hundred lives in her short time on Earth. She appears demure, learned and polite. We can assume that Louis appreciated her suggestive clothing. Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. Madame d’Étioles became a shining star of Parisian society and was admired by the king himself. Who was the real Madame de Pompadour? He referenced her great contribution to his career by saying, “I am indebted to her and I mourn her out of gratitude.” Even the weather seemed to mourn her loss. I tried to get my ex-wife served with divorce papers. As the most commanding mistress in the French court, she bettered the lives of many and became a beloved figure…. Pompadour first tried to get the attention of her future beau King Louis XV with a show-stopping gesture. Pompadour told one of her friends that Louis’ side dalliances didn’t bother her because, “It is his heart I want! As though his wife dumping him wasn’t bad enough, Charles’ own family wasn’t exactly sympathetic to his heartbreak. Their jibes were so numerous that the nation had a specific term for attacks on Pompadour: These insults were called “poissonades” in a reference to her last name, the common “Poisson” aka “fish.”. But in order to do so, Le Normant ruthlessly removed all his other nieces and nephews from his will. King Louis XV’s kids were not thrilled that Pompadour had moved into the palace and they weren’t shy about who knew it. Years later, I was using her phone when I made an utterly chilling discovery. But the reason for their cooperation isn’t so prim and proper: Pompadour made sure to suck up to her competition and went to disturbing lengths to make nice with the queen.
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