Sketch for a Portrait of Madame de Pompadour (1721 - 1764)

On display in:

Starhemberg Room

Order image © All images subject to copyright

Artist or maker

Boucher, François (b.1703, d.1770)


c 1750

dated stylistically

Place of production

  • Paris, France


  • oil on canvas

Type of object

  • paintings

Accession number


Rectangular oil painting, full-length portrait of Madame de Pompadour. Madame de Pompadour is shown standing in an interior. She leans back with her right foot forward and her left hand on a dressing table to the right. Her body turns slightly to the right, and her head is turned in three-quarter profile to the left. She is wearing a green taffeta dress with large panniers, a robe à la française. The bodice is trimmed with ribbons, and the elbow-length sleeves with frilly lace. A flower posy with roses is pinned to the right side of her bodice; she also wears a garland of flowers around her neck. In her right hand she holds a large straw hat, and in her left hand, a châtelaine. To the right is her dressing table with a frilly cover, and a gold-framed mirror propped up against a pier-glass. In front of the table, some prints and music scores appear on the ground. To the left, there is a velvet armchair with a small dog below. Behind, to the left, there is a bookcase surmounted by a clock and a porcelain vase.

Physical description

Dimensions (mm) / weight (mg)

625 x 460
592 x 445 - sight

Signature & date

not signed or dated


[verso, on canvas, lower left, black chalk]

Left of Grey Dining Room doors.
[verso, on stretcher, centre left to centre, pencil]


75 bis
Portrait de Mme
de Pompadour
[verso, on stretcher, upper right, typed]

[verso, on canvas, upper right, handwritten in pen]

N.B. This label is to be affixed to the frame (not the canvas) of the picture.
Royal Accademy of Arts 19 [54-55 Eighteenth Century]
Artist ... [Boucher]
Title ... [Oil sketch, Madame De Pompadour.] Ser No. [526.]
Name and Address of Owner} [James de Rothschild, Esq. D.M.C. Waddesdon, Aylesbury, Bucks.]
(Please correct any particulars not properly given.)
Printed label
[verso, on frame, upper left, printed and typed label]

French Gallery
Left entering from vestibule
[verso, on frame, lower left, handwritten in ink]

[French Gallery
panel right ?
Dining Room doors]
75 bis
Portrait de mme de Pompadour
[verso, on frame, lower right, label typed and handwritten in ink]

Trafalgar Square London WC2N 5DN
Telephone 0171-839 3321
EXHIBITION: Madame de Pompadour: Images of a Mistress
ARTIST: François Boucher
TITLE: Madame de Pompadour
OWNER: Waddesdon Manor, Rothschild Collection
Printed label
[verso, lower left, on frame]

Printed label
[verso, on frame, lower left, old handwritten label, indecipherable]



  • Owned by Richard Williams Esq. (d. 1862), of Rutland Gate, London; sold in the Richard Williams sale, Christie's, London, 10 May 1862, lot 41, as 'Madame du Barri'; acquired by the dealer Annesly for 32 guineas (along with lot 42, for 30 guineas - now Louvre RF 1242); acquired by Baron Wilhelm von Rothschild (b.1828, d.1901); inherited by his wife Baroness Mathilde von Rothschild (b.1832, d.1924); by descent to her son-in-law Baron Edmond de Rothschild (b.1845, d.1934); by descent to his son James de Rothschild (b.1878, d.1957); inherited by his wife Dorothy de Rothschild (b.1895, d.1988); then to a Rothschild Family Trust.

Exhibition history

  • 'European Masters of the Eighteenth Century', Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1954-1955, no. 468, loaned by Mr James de Rothschild
  • 'Madame de Pompadour et les arts/ Madame de Pompadour: Images of a Mistress', Musée national des châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon, 14 February - 19 May 2002, Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Munich, 14 June - 15 September 2002; National Gallery, London, 16 October 2002 - 12 January 2003


  • Waddesdon (Rothschild Family)
  • On loan since 1995


  • Pierre de Nolhac; Boucher: premier peintre du roi.; Paris; H Floury; 1925; p. 114.
  • Alexandre Ananoff; Francois Boucher; vol. 2; Paris; La Bibliothèque des Arts; 1976; pp. 192-193, cat. no. 520, fig. 1447.
  • Alastair Laing; Francois Boucher 1703-1770; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, February 17 - May 4 1986; The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, May 27 - August 17 1986; Grand Palais, Paris, September 19 1986 - January 5, 1987; Paris; Réunion des musées nationaux; 1986; pp. 253-254, fig. 170; dated c. 1750.
  • Madeleine Delpierre; Se vêtir au XVIIIe siècle; Paris; Adam Biro; 1996; p. 67.
  • Elise Goodman; The Portraits of Madame de Pompadour: celebrating the femme savante; Los Angeles; University of California Press; 2000; pp. 15, 145, n. 25.
  • Melissa Hyde, The "Makeup" of the Marquise: Boucher's Portrait of Pompadour at Her Toilette, The Art Bulletin, 82, 2000, 453-475; pp. 464, 468, fig. 15.
  • Xavier Salmon, Helge Seifert, Humphrey Wine; Madame de Pompadour et les arts; Musée national des châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon, Versailles, 14 février-19 mai 2002; Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Munich, 14 juin-15 septembre 2002; National Gallery, London, 16 octobre 2002-12 janvier 2003; Paris; Réunion des musées nationaux; 2002; pp. 146-147, no. 26, ill.
  • Jean Louis Gaillemin, La Marraine du Rococo, Connaissance des Arts, 591, February 2002, 38-47; p. 43, ill.
  • Colin Jones; Madame de Pompadour: Images of a Mistress; London; National Gallery Company; 2002; p. 14, fig. 1.
  • Ulrich Leben; Object Design in the Age of Enlightenment. The History of the Royal Free Drawing School in Paris; Los Angeles; Getty Publications; 2005; p. 39, ill.
  • Melissa Hyde; Making up the rococo: François Boucher and his critics; Los Angeles; Getty Research Institute; 2006; p. 118, fig. 13.
  • Hans Sonntag, 'Ines' und 'Mimi', die lieblingshunde der Marquise de Pompadour - 2008 aus Meissener Porzellan zu neuem Leben erweckt, Keramos, 200, April 2008, 21-30; p. 21, fig. 1.
  • Muriel Carre-Gazancon; 'The Sacred Rite of Pride: The art of the toilette in eighteenth-century France' (unpublished MA thesis; University of Glasgow, Christie's; September 2009; p. 49, fig. 28.
  • José de Los Llanos, Christiane Grégoire; Boîtes en or et objets de vertu; Paris; Paris Musees; 2011; p. 14.
  • Andrea Weisbrod; Madame de Pompadour und die Macht der Inszenierung; Berlin; AvivA Verlag; 2014; ill.

Related files

Other details

Subject person

  • Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, marquise de Pompadour, Sitter