Traces of Madame de Pompadour
Jeanne Poission remained the King's first mistress until her death in 1765. She died of tuberculosis after almost 20 years at court, she was only 43 years old.
The common belief is that during the last years of her life she had no more sexual relations with the King. Still, she was his most loyal friend and counsellor; that must have been true love!
The French population did not love her that much at the end of her life. , They held her responsible for the seven-years' war that made France virtually bankrupt. After her death, she was buried in the Church at the place du Vendôme. Her daughter Alexandrine was also buried there after she died in 1754 at the age of 9. This church, like most of her homes, is gone nowadays.
Most of the extensive legacy of Madame de Pompadour went to her brother Abel, Marquis de Marigny. He decided to sell most of the items. This sale began in April 1766 and would last one year. Interested people could see the collection in Paris, and there were many interested people. Everyone wanted to gaze at the excessive wealth that the Maitresse-en-Titre gathered during her life. Most visitors could not afford to buy anything.
Thus began the spread of the Marquise’s collection of artefacts, books, furniture, ceramics, etc.
Abel kept a lot of the paintings that portrayed his sister for himself. He found the painting by van Loo showing the best resemblance with the real Jeane. The painting shows madame de Pompadour dresses as Turkish harem women.
Madame de Pompadour as Sultana Taking Coffee, painting by van Loo
In order to find traces of Madame de Pompadour, a visit to the Louvre Museum in Paris is a good start. Here you will find the original paintings by Boucher, de la Tour and Nattier. Also, some furniture with her coat of arms can be found here among other works of art.
The Petit Trianon was originally designed for Madame de Pompadour. Because she died before it was finished nowadays it is mainly associated with Marie Antoinette.
There are no traces of her there, and you won’t find any in the state Apartments of the Palace of Versailles either. You will have to take a guided tour around the Petit Apartments to find a trace of her. at Versailles Palace. Only this special guided tour leads you into the private rooms of the royal family and the "The King's mistresses' apartments".
Unfortunately, many of the houses of the pompadour don’t exist anymore. The exception is the Chateau de Champs in Seine-et-Marne. This castle is still there and can be visited. For more information visit the website.
Also the Château de Menars still stands on the banks of the Loire, but is privately owned and not open for visitors.
Many pieces from the collection of the Pompadour can be found in Great Britain. For example, in the Victoria and Albert museum, the National Gallery in Edingburgh and in the Wallace Collection art and items of Madame the Pompadour can be found.