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Author photo. Madame de Pompadour by François Boucher (c. 1758), National Gallery of Scotland

Madame de Pompadour by François Boucher (c. 1758), National Gallery of Scotland

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Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, known as Madame de Pompadour, became an official mistress of King Louis XV of France at age 23. She was well-educated, intelligent and beautiful, and a talented singer and actress. The king made her marquise de Pompadour in her own right in 1745 to present her at court. From her position, she exerted a great influence on French culture of her time, including the decorative arts, fashion, architecture and politics. She is still famed today for her excellent taste in interior design and her distinctive style. She was a patron of many artists and artisans. She did not publish any memoirs; but Madame du Hausset, her lady's maid and confidante, kept a journal that was published after her death.
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