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Author photo. Portrait anonyme peint sur ivoire, XVIIIe siècle. Collection particulière. Photo M. Urtado.

Portrait anonyme peint sur ivoire, XVIIIe siècle. Collection particulière. Photo M. Urtado.

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Jeanne-Marie Le Prince (or Leprince) was one of several children born to a sculptor and painter in Rouen. Educated at a convent school, she worked there from 1725 to 1735 as a teacher. She then obtained a prestigious position as a singing teacher to the children at the Court of Stanisław Leszynski, Duke of Lorraine (former king of Poland and father-in-law of King Louis XV) at Lunéville. Her years at the court made her familiar with the works of Voltaire and Abbé Coyer. In 1743, she married the dissolute comte Antoine Grimard de Beaumont, with whom she had a daughter, but the union was a disaster and was annulled; however, she retained her husband's name. He was later killed in a duel. In 1748, Madame Le Prince de Beaumont left France to work as a governess to the children of prominent families in London. In England she launched a successful writing career, producing anecdotes, stories, fairy tales, commentaries, novels, and essays, and creating Le Magasin des Enfants, the first of a series of educational journals for upper-class children, which attracted international attention. In it, she published her most famous story, "La Belle et la bête ("Beauty and the Beast," 1757). In 1757 she remarried to Thomas Pichon (later Tyrell), a French exile. She returned to France in 1763 and then lived the rest of her life in Burgundy and Savoy.
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