Marquise de Pompadour, a real fashion icon, but moderated with jewellery


- December 2016 -

During the reign of Louis XV, libertinism became widespread although it was severely criticized by members of the court. For the first time, the king’s mistresses came from more modest backgrounds.


marquise de Pompadour and jewelleryJeanne-Antoinette Le Normand d’Etoiles, née Poisson, said, “I would be unfaithful to my husband with nobody, except perhaps with the King”. Her words became true in 1745 when she separated from her husband to receive the title of Marquise de Pompadour. With a mind for finance, she became one of the most influential favorites of that time. For more than twenty years she was the “almost Queen of France”.

She won the King’s heart, reigned over fashion, jewels and the arts without ever having any legitimate recognition. She was the first to create her own style, the Pompadour style. She created a fashion full of ribbons and rather revealing. She influenced the couturiers by highlighting her taste for chinoiseries. She even posed as a sultana for Carle Van Loo. She was innovative, but her good taste meant that she did not shock. The contents of her wardrobe show her taste for luxury. But one cannot imagine such a wardrobe without jewellery. She possessed no less than 332 pieces, ranging from a little ring in onyx with four diamonds, to a large diamond necklace with a drop, little bows and pendants, all made up of 547 stones of different sizes. In total she possessed the equivalent of 479 459 FF worth of jewels. Thanks to her elegance and her personal taste, she not only reigned over the King’s heart but she also became the representative of the greatness of the kingdom and French arts. She acceded to this rank thanks to an appropriate education.


marquise the pompadour and jewelleryBeautiful and refined, her mother introduced her to literary circles and initiated her in art when she was very young. Yet her arrival at the court caused a scandal such as had never yet occurred. Like every mistress, she was criticized for her luxurious and costly tastes. But her intelligent mind won the trust of artists, economists and ambassadors and almost gave her the title of minister of the arts. She commissioned work from painters, poets, architects, Jewellers and many others so as to demonstrate the greatness of France. As patron of the arts she was a perfect illustration of the Age of Enlightenment. Not out of pride but as the king’s friend, she enforced the court’s etiquette. Very quickly her influence spread to ministers and the king’s councilors. In 1756, she obtained the official post of lady of the queen’s palace, which put her out of the way of any disgrace. No decision was made by the Council without her knowledge. According to historians the king wept at her death. Other favorites followed, but none became as influential as the Marquise de Pompadour. The last of the king’s favorites was the Countess du Barry. Of modest origins, she was the most spendthrift and the most criticized mistress in history. She was guillotined during the French Revolution.


Text© World Luxury Jewellers



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