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The life of Madame de Pompadour


29 December: date of birth of the Marchioness (Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, daughter of Louise-Madeleine de La Motte and of François Poisson). The date of birth is not certified. Some historians put her birth between 20 and 30 December.

30 December: Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson probably receives the Christening in the church of Saint-Eustache (in the parish of S. Roche). The original deed disappeared in a fire but Jal had made a copy beforehand.
  19 March: the death of Pope Clemente XI.

5 May: Innocenzo XIII is the new Pope.

May: the plague in Marseille.

13 June: the Secret Treaty of Madrid, France-Spain.

10 September: the death of the painter Watteau.


  2 March: Marie Anne Victoria Infant of Spain, fiancée of Louis XV, arrives in Paris.

14 June: Louis XV leaves Paris to live in Versailles.

25 October: Louis XV is consecrated in Reims.


  22 February: Louis XV at the age of 13 is declared adult and consecrated King of France.

August: the smallpox in Paris.


The birth of her sister: Françoise-Louise Poisson.
The biographies report that she died very young but the exact date is unknown.
  7 March: the Pope Innocenzo XIII dies.

29 May: Benedetto XIII is the new Pope.

31 August: Philip V is consecrated King of Spain.

24 September: the Council decides to break the engagement between Louis XV and the Infant of Spain.


The birth of her brother François-Abel Poisson, Count of Marigny.
  12 may: the Infant of Spain comes back to her country.

29 May: Louis XV announces his marriage with Maria Leczinska.

5 September: the King Louis XV marries Maria Leczinska.


She goes to the Convent of the Ursuline Order.
  The Cardinal Fleury is elected Prime Minister.

Voltaire emigrates in England.


The family leaves the house in Rue de Richelieu to move in Rue Neuve-de-Bons-Enfants.

20 May: the father is condemned because of his debts with the Treasury.
  The death of great scientist Isaac Newton.


Jeanne-Antoinette attends the school at the Convent of the Ursuline order.
  The death of George I, George II is King of England.

Voltaire "La Henriade".


She leaves the convent.
  4 September: the birth of the Dauphin Louis.

The first “Cyclopaedia arte ET scienza” (Encyclopaedia of Art and Science) written by Chambers, is published in England.


Madame le Bon tells her that she is going to be the King’s Mistress.
  The Danish Vitus J. Bering discovers the Strait of Bering.

Anna is Tsarina of Russia.

The death of Pope Benedetto XIII.

The new Pope is Clemente XII.


She studies singing, dancing, playing, drawing, embossing and literature.
  The Second and the Third Deed of Vienna.


She studies singing, dancing, playing, drawing, embossing and literature.
  Voltaire writes "Zaire".

The birth of the painter Fragonard.


She studies singing, dancing, playing, drawing, embossing and literature.
  The Succession War in Poland.


She studies singing, dancing, playing, drawing, embossing and literature.
  The Russians take the city of Danzica.

The French army won the Battle of Parma, in Italy.

Voltaire :"Lettere filosofiche".


She studies singing, dancing, playing, drawing, embossing and literature.
  Linné writes “The system of natural classification”.


She studies singing, dancing, playing, drawing, embossing and literature.
  Paris 9 April: by Royal declaration the parish priests are obliged to provide copies of deeds of christening and marriage.


She plays a role in a perform written by Voltaire “Zaire” in Etiolles Castle, at the presence of the author.
  Jean-Philippe Rameau writes "Castor and Pollux".


She studies singing, dancing, playing, drawing, embossing and literature.
  2 May: the Deed of Vienna is subscribed.

The Foundation of the Manufactory in Vincennes.

She studies singing, dancing, playing, drawing, embossing and literature.

Her father comes back from Germany.
  Saint-Simon writes "Memories".

David Hume writes "The treatise of human nature".


She studies singing, dancing, playing, drawing, embossing and literature.
  Maria Teresa is consecrated Empress in Austria.

The death of the Pope Clemente XII.

Benedetto XIV is the new Pope.

Louis XV purchases the Choisy Castle, which is close to the forest of Senart, where he likes hunting.


9 March: the marriage with Charles Guillaume le Normand d’Etiolles, in the church of Saint-Eustache (in S. Roche parish).

26 December: she gives birth to her first son who dies after few months.

She meets the most important artists and scientists in the aristocratic houses of Madame Tencin, Countess of Estardes, and Madame Geoffrin, in Paris.
  France is against Austria in the battle of Mollowiz.

Due to particular weather conditions France suffers an economical crisis.

Louis XV moves definitively in Choisy Castle.


She meets the most important artists and scientists in the aristocratic houses of Madame Tencin, Countess of Estardes, and Madame Geoffrin, in Paris.
  The French army is in the city of Praga.

Boucher paints "The triumph of Venus".


She meets the most important artists and scientists in the aristocratic houses of Madame Tencin, Countess of Estardes, and Madame Geoffrin, in Paris.
  J.B. D’alambert writes "The principles of Dynamics".

The death of Vivaldi.


She gives birth to her daughter Alessandrina.

She meets the most important artists and scientists in the aristocratic houses of Madame Tencin, Countess of Estardes, and Madame Geoffrin, in Paris.
  France is in war with England and Austria.

In August Louis XV takes part in the military campaign in Rhénaine. In Metz he falls sick worrying France.

8 December: the King’s mistress, the Duchess of Chateauroux, mysteriously dies.


25 Febbraio: She meets the King in a masked ball, organized to celebrate the Dauphin’s wedding.

31 March: she comes in Versailles for the first time.

1 April: she sits very close to the King at the Theatre.

6 May: when the King leaves France for the Flanders Campaign, Jeanne-Antoinette is hosted by Paris-Montmartel first in Brunoy then in Etiolles.

24 June: the purchase of the goods that belong to the marquisate of Pompadour.

7 Luglio: Le viene conferito il brevetto di Marchesa.

2 September: she leaves Etiolles and moves to the Tuileries Palace where she celebrates the return of the King.

14 September: at six o’clock p.m. Jeanne-Antoinette is introduced to the court.

24 December: her mother dies.
  Austria fights against France.

Franz-Joseph is co-regent Emperor.

In Italy many French-Spanish victories take place.


She purchases Crècy Castle.

February: reconciliation with the Duke of Richelieu.

Nattier portraits her as Diana.
  In Paris the Parliament condemns the work of Diderot "Philosophical thoughts".

The birth of the painter Goya.


14 February: at the Court there is the opening of the theatre "des petit appartements" ("The theatre of the small apartments").
  Maurice de Saxe goes to the Netherlands.

Voltaire writes "Zadig".


The purchase of the La Celle, Saint Cloud.

She begins to build the Bellevue Castle in Meudon.

The payment of the Marquisate.
  The Peace of Aquisgrana.

The ruins of Pompei are discovered.


The purchase of the estate in Fontainebleau.

Da poco tempo sono iniziati gli scavi di Pompei ed Ercolano. Da tutto il mondo arrivano in Italia studiosi d'arte per vedere e copiare i reperti.

Si gettano le basi per la nascita dello stile neoclassico (inizialmente chiamato "à la grecque"). In particolare il favoloso stile Luigi XVI , il più bello di tutti i tempi.

A Mme Pompadour non sfugge niente per quanto riguarda l'arte. Manda il fratello in Italia in compagnia di Soufflot e Cochin.

The building of the Hermitage of Versailles. The first orders of furniture to Pierre the Migeon, the cabinetmaker.

The debut of the “Poissonades”:
A few satirical, defamatory writings, and songs spread everywhere in France, at the court and in the cities.

This is an example:
Fille de sangsue et sangsue elle meme
Poisson d’une arrogance extreme
Etale en ce chateau sans crainte et sans effroi
La substance du people et la honte du Roi.
  Iniziano gli scavi di Pompei, gli stranieri in italia per studiare le opere.

The birth of Goethe.

Voltaire in Prussia.

The birth of Goethe.

Buffon writes "The natural history".


Bellevue Castle is finished.

Francois Boucher paints a portrait of Madame de Pompadour surrounded by a few objects that recall her role as protector of Arts, Science and Literature. (Paris, the Louvre Museum).

The 14 September there is the opening of a permanent exhibition of the Royal collections at the Palais du Luxembourg.

In November there is the opening of the Bellevue Castle; the canvas painted by Boucher “La lumiere du monde” is dedicated to it.

There is a contest for the building of a monument to the King: Gabriel is the director of the works of the Louis XV square (today Place de la Concorde).

At Versailles Castle, Madame de Pompadour leaves her apartments “d’en haut”, built for the King’s mistress, to live in the apartments “en bas”, the ones at the ground floor built for the princes and previously occupied by the Duke of Penthievre.
  Rousseau writes "Conversations about literature and arts".

The financial reform in France.


Her brother comes back from Italy.

There is the transition between the "roccaille" and neo-classical style.

Madame Pompadour is the financier of a few French cabinet-makers who, thanks to her, improve their ability and produce the best furniture in the world. (A “commode” of that period has been sold in New York for 1.000.000 dollars).

On suggestion by Paris-Duverney she promotes the building of the Military School and names Gabriel as architect. This School is one of the few constructions promoted by Madame Pompadour, which is still visible today (it is quite close to the Tour Eiffel).

The renewal of the Compiegne castle, by Gabriel.

Winter 1750-1751: the Marchioness definitely stops any sexual intercourse with the King, she is the nominal Mistress, and useful friend and confident of His Majesty.
  The first two volumes of the Encyclopaedia by Diderot and D’Alambert ("Dictionary of science and crafts") are published.

Voltaire writes "The century of Louis XIV".

The establishment of the Military School in Paris.


17 October: she receives the title deed of Duchess.

She promotes the building of the Hotel de Reservoires in Versailles.

A few wallpapers of the Gobelin manufactures are made for Madame de Pompadour, they are taken from some Boucher pictures: “Le lever et Le Coucher du Soleil”.

She orders three Vien plates for the church of Crecy.

Madame de Pompadour defends the publication of the Encyclopaedia and meets D’Alembert, Helvetius, Buffon,Voltaire, Marmontel and Crebillon.

Despite her love for the Rocaille, she backs up Soufflot, Gabriel and Cochin that are openly against this style.

Louis XV acquires a quarter of the manufactures of Vincennes, which make porcelains, and new buildings are made.
  Benjamin Franklin discovers the lighting-conductor.

The Encyclopaedia written by Diderot and D’Alambert is condemned in France.

Rousseau writes "The fortune-teller of the village".


February: the Countess of Choiseul is banished as she secretly tried to take the place of Madame Pompadour.

March: at Bellevue Castle she plays the role of Colin in the work "Le devin du village" (“The fortune-teller of the village”) written by J.J. Rousseau.

She donates the Evreux Palace to herself for Christmas. (Nowadays is the residence of the President of France).

Despite her success performing a piece written by Rousseau “Le devine du village”, she gives up playing.
  Luigi XV inizia delle dispute con gli inglesi per le colonie in America.

Londra Nasce il British Museum.

Esce il terzo volume dell'enciclopedia di Diderot e D'Alambert.


Her father dies.

15 June: the daughter Alessandrina dies of peritonitis.

Oeben has the title of Cabinet Maker of the King and the protection of Madame de Pompadour. The building of the Hermitage, which will be opened a year after by the King.
  Diderot writes "Philosophical thoughts about the interpretation of Nature".

France and England fight in North America.


The portrait made with pastels by Maurice Quentin de la Tour; other important works are “l’Histoire naturelle” by Buffon, “l’Esprit des Lois” by Montesqieu, “la Henriade” by Voltaire, “le Pastor fido” by Guarini. Not to mention a group of engravings made by Madame de Pompadour, who worked directed by Jacques Guay (63 printings are at the Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal).

The construction of the Hermitage, based on Gabriel’s projects (the building has been destroyed).

The exhibition at the Salon of the big portrait of the Marchioness, painted by Maurice Quentin de la Tour.
  Jean Jacques Rousseau writes "The origins of diversity".


8 or 6? February: she is named Lady of the Queen.

February: is the end of her relationship with the King.

18 June: the opening of the Military School of Saint-Cyr that she promoted.

L'imperatrice Maria Teresa d'Austria le invia in regalo uno scrittoio con diamanti e ritratto.

Lettere di ringraziamento di Madame de Pompadour a Maria Teresa.

She founds a society to finance the work that Cassini began in 1750: the topographical survey of France.

The making of the portrait by Boucher, which will be exhibited at the Salon in 1757 (Munich the New Pinakothek).
  The Seven Year War begins.

The creation of the manufactory in Sevres.

The French population amounts to 19.000.000 people.


5 January: Damiens attempts to kill the King.

Madame Pompadour feels in danger at the court.

D’Angerson is dismissed.

She rents the castle called "Chateau De Champs" to live there for the rest of her life.

She sells Bellevue Castle to the King for the sum of 350.000 livres, while she paid 2.600.000 for it. To the Duke of Penthiève she sells Crecy.

The final tune up of the colour called “Pink Pompadour” by the manufactures of Sèvres.

The Count of Voyer de Paulmy d’Argenson the Secretary of the nation for the war, is dismissed with a letter by Cachet the 1 February soon after the outrage of Damiens: he wanted Madame de Pompadour to leave the court.
  Choiseul is sent in Vienna to strengthen the politics of the abbot Pierre de Bernis.

Russia and Austria invade the north of Germany but Fredrick II wins.


  The Duke of Choiseul takes the place of the abbot De Bernis in Foreign Affairs.

In North America France loses the Canadian territory that becomes an English colony.

Voltaire publishes his work "Candid".

The pass of the comet of Halley.

The Pope Benedetto XIV dies.

Clemente XIII is the new Pope.


28 January: she writes to the Austrian Empress.

Pigalle painted the Marchioness in “l’Amour et l’Amitie” (Paris, the Louvre Museum).

Boucher keeps on painting the portraits (London, the Wallace collection).
  Voltaire comes back to France.

J.H Lambert publishes "Photometria".

The Jesuits are banished from Portugal.


She sells the Marquisate of Pompadour to Choiseul.

30 June: the purchase of Menars Castle for the sum of 800.000 livres.

The 17 February on ordinance of the Council the manufactures of Sèvres become "Royal Manufactures".


March: the purchase of Auvilliers Castle.
  The Family Term with France, Naples and Parma.


Gabriel projects the Trianon.

The private retirement of the Marchioness and the King.
  Catherine II becomes Empress of Russia.

After having won the French colonies in North America, England attacks the Spanish, the Dutch and the Portuguese ones.

J. J. Rousseau writes and publishes "The social contract".

23 April: the suppression of the Jesuits Company by the French Parliament.


The beginning of the works of the Trianon by Gabriel.

The equestrian statue of King Louis XV made by Bouchardon, is put in Place Louis XV.
  10 February: the Peace Treaty with England is signed in Paris.

It is the end of the Seven Year war, France loses Canada and Louisiana.


15 April: the death of Madame Pompadour. It is Easter.

17 April: the date of her funeral. She is buried beside her daughter in the chapel of the Capuchin Friars in Place Vendome.
  June-July: the French Parliament is in crisis as well as the Ancient Regime.

November: Louis XV banished the Jesuits.

Voltaire publishes "The philosophical dictionary".



29 March: the convent of the Capuchin Friars is destroyed in order to build the "Rue de la Paix".

The ashes and bones of Madame Pompadour are taken to the catacombs of Paris in a place reserved to the Capuchin friars and mixed up with thousands of anonymous bones.

Ouverture de la rue de la Paix .
Dans le Dictionnaire historique des rues de Paris, il est indiqué pour la rue de la Paix:
En 1806, le cercueil de Louise de Lorraine -Vaudémont (Reine de France 1575 - 1589. Femme de Henri III et fondatrice du couvent.) a été trouvé, au niveau du numéro 4 transporté au Père Lachaise, puis repose depuis 1817 à la Basilique Saint-Denis.


During an excavation for sewage, a few coffins are discovered, one of them belongs to Catherine de Joyeuse widower of the duke of Montpensier. The coffin was buried in a lateral chapel that enclosed the Mausoleum of Louise de Lorraine. The n°4 in Rue de la Paix could be the place where the convent was built, but the coffin of Madame Pompadour apparently disappeared.

We would be glad to receive any information about it, thank you.


May: Mr. Lorenzo Crivellin thinks that Madame Pompadour has been an exceptional woman and decides to create this web site to honour her life.