Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour was a member of the French court, and was the official maîtresse-en-titre of Louis XV. She was intelligent, beautiful, and refined. She spent her younger childhood at the Ursuline convent in Poissy where she received a good education. At adolescence, her mother took personal charge of her education at home by hiring tutors who taught her to recite entire plays by heart, play the clavichord, dance, sing, paint and engrave. She became an accomplished actress and singer, and also attended Paris’s Club de l’Entresol.
Jeanne Antoinette caught the king’s eye when she was a married woman, and her divorce soon followed. She could not be presented at court without a title, so Louis bought her the marquisate of Pompadour. The marquise had many enemies among the royal courtiers who felt it a disgrace that the king would thus compromise himself with a commoner. However, her importance was such that she was even approached in 1755 by a prominent Austrian diplomat, asking her to intervene in the negotiations which led to the Treaty of Versailles. Madame de Pompadour suffered two miscarriages in 1746 and 1749, and she is said to have arranged lesser mistresses for the King’s pleasure to replace herself. Although they had ceased being lovers after 1750, they remained friends, and Louis was devoted to her until her death from tuberculosis in 1764. At the time of her death, many of her enemies were greatly relieved and she was publicly blamed for the Seven Years’ War. Looking at the rain during the departure of his mistress’ coffin from Versailles, the King reportedly said: “La marquise n’aura pas de beau temps pour son voyage.” (“The marquise won’t have good weather for her journey.”)