madame de pompadour


Alexandrine Le Normant d’Étoilles

Alexandrine Le Normant d’Étoilles, Boucher, private collection. Although Versailles is better known as a very adult sort of playground, full of gilt and priceless treasures, I’ve always been fascinated by the children who lived there over the decades that it was inhabited by the French court, and to whom it must surely have been like living in the midst of some sort of crazy fairytale. I love their portraits too – dressed up like miniature adults in their finery, gazing solemnly out of the canvas and clearly barely stifling their impatience to be off and away somewhere else, the only […]


Boucher – Madame de Pompadour

Madame de Pompadour, Boucher, 1759. Photo: Wallace Collection. As part of my mission to blog every day, I’ve decided to have a Portrait of the Week and what could be a better way to kick off on the anniversary of Boucher’s death in 1770 than his superb portrait of Madame de Pompadour, which is one of the highlights of the Wallace Collection in London. This amazing painting was commissioned by Madame de Pompadour in 1759, nine years after her relationship with Louis XV had become necessarily platonic although she still maintained her position as his chief mistress, mainly through a […]


The beautiful world of Madame de Pompadour

They’ve recently reconstructed how they think Madame de Pompadour’s rooms at Versailles may have looked when she lived in them. How beautiful is this bedroom? It’s clear from looking at her belongings and portraits that Madame was fond of what I always call ‘mermaid colours’: the rich and varying blue and green hues of the sea and sky. It’s reminiscent of her best known portrait by Boucher, which was painted in 1756 and depicts the Marquise in her rooms at Versailles, surrounded by a plethora of objects that are intended to show off how she was not only a highly […]


Robes à la Française from the Met collection

I’ve been having a lot of fun reading my new 100 Dresses book, which highlights 100 of the very finest and most iconic and evocative dresses in the vast collection of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. I’ll be featuring some of these dresses, and others, in detail over the next few weeks and thought I would start with this amazing court dress from the 1750s. I can’t imagine wearing something as cumbersome and imposing as this, can you? It’s gorgeous though, isn’t it? Oh, so many questions today! This dress was bulked and held out […]


Gorgeously Gothic Galliano

I was being a bit of a tease, wasn’t I when I showed a detail from that John Galliano for Christian Dior Couture dress and said that it was one of the most gorgeous dresses ever… Amazing isn’t it? Okay, maybe you have to be a bit goth to appreciate it, but seriously just look at the size of it and those incredible flounces! John Galliano is one of my all time favourite designers (hey, I may look a bit scruffy but I can speak Fashion) because I adore the way that he is so heavily inspired by the fashions […]


Blues and greens

My last post went off at a bit of a tangent and was actually supposed to involve some pictures evoking Madame  de Pompadour’s exquisite taste, particularly when it came to interior decoration, Sèvres pieces and sculpture! Oops. They’ve recently reconstructed how they think her rooms at Versailles may have looked while she lived in them. How beautiful is this bedroom? It’s clear from looking at her belongings and portraits that Madame de Pompadour was fond of what I always call ‘mermaid colours’: the rich and varying blue and green hues of the sea and sky. It’s reminiscent of her best […]