Shelved Dolls: Madame du Barry – Cinder-F*ckin’-Ella

She lived with a variety of men, though her situation truly altered only when she met the comte Jean du Barry. While he had a title, and knew many aristocrats, Jean was a notorious gambler and spendthift, and was deeply in debt. Among his friends – and enemies, of whom he had many – he was known as”le roue.”

In truth, he was little more than a glorified pimp. Du Barry used to take in shopgirls and maids of the time and promise them that with his tutelage they might become the mistress to a Duc. He would then send them off to his friends for sex and take a large percentage of their earnings. He supposedly took Jeanne in because he thought it would attract more people to come and gamble with him. I don’t think I even need to tell you that he cheated at cards. He did.

The police did know all this about Jean, but there wasn’t much they could do. However, upon seeing Jeanne, one policeman wrote “he will certainly try to barter her to his own advantage, but one must admit him to be a connoisseur – his merchandise is always of fine quality.”

The comte Du Barry did seem particularly charmed by Jeanne, though. He began to introduce Jeanne as her mistress, and he sent her off to a great deal of notable men – the most notable of which was probably Cardinal Richelieu, who would later be one of her defenders at court.

However, it was only a man who didn’t want to sleep with Jeanne that led to her becoming the King’s mistress.

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    • Ellen W.

      Can I be “Team NOT Marie Antoinette?” (Yes, I know she was treated very badly and didn’t have an easy life. But you’re the one who decided we had to pick a team!)

      There are things to love about both of them and I want to have Pompadour’s cleverness and taste, but du Barry’s generosity and optimism. Okay, fine, and Marie Antoinette’s poise.

      • Jennifer Wright

        Everyone is allowed to be team not Marie Antoinette. Though honestly, I never really got why Marie Antoinette and du Barry didn’t become friends. Both of them were strangers to the Court’s customs (M.A. was Austrian) hated by the public and known for having kind of vulgar tastes. Especially since the last Queen and Pompadour were buddies! Though I suppose that goes along with disliking people because they show traits we dislike in ourselves.

      • Naomi

        I imagine that if nothing else, Marie Antoinette was very concerned about fitting in at Versailles and being on the court’s good side. It’s like the new girl in school being a twat to fit in with the popular mean girls.

    • Adrienne

      It was hard to pick a team (although I picked Pompadour) as I think I would like both in their own ways! Thanks Jennifer yet again for picking such interesting dolls to profile!

    • Naomi

      You and I feel precisely the same way about both Pompadour and du Barry. We should be friends.

    • Lisa

      Do more research and read the book by Stanley Loomis, which is better description of Madame du Barry. She was perhaps more educated than the ladies at court. The hatred of her was partly due to her up bringing, but mostly due to jealousy… Being the mistress of the king was a very coveted position.

    • Lisa

      Madame du Barry was kind, and a great lover and supporter of the arts. Madame Pompadour, from what, I have read was a on wheels… Madame du Barry was also a friend of Voltaire. She was an good cook, since her mother worked from time to time as a cook. In the convent she became educated, as I stated earlier.. and refined in manners probably more so than some of the royal women, who hated her. Madame du Barry was also the first to wear assorted gems together, and also one of the first to use the services Rose Bertin , later deemed dress maker to the Queen.

    • Lisa

      Also for the record,du Barry was pretty happy and lived a damn good life, up until Mr.Greive got hold of her and Zamor and others, turned on her.