Graduation Year

Spring 2012

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Art History

Second Department

French Studies

Reader 1

Eric Haskell

Reader 2

Bruce Coats

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Rights Information

© 2012 Kelly E. Boyd


The structure of this thesis relies on the physical locations of Mme. de Pompadour. Although the chapters are roughly chronological, beginning with her arrival at Versailles in 1745 and ending with her death in 1764, this work makes no attempt to comprehensively chronicle the entirety of her involvement in the decorative arts. Rather, it focuses on several specific aspects of her patronage, with the goal of illuminating her social position and public image, and how she worked to control the two. Chapter One deals with the first rooms Mme. de Pompadour inhabited, from 1745-1750. These upper apartments characterize her early attempts to convey meaning through décor and to shape social interactions within a constructed environment. Chapter Two follows Mme. de Pompadour’s move downstairs, to the lower apartments in 1750. This move parallels an important evolution in her role at court and seeks to explore how her newly political functions were expressed through these interior spaces. Chapter Three is more expansive, examining three architectural projects undertaken by Mme. de Pompadour and Louis XV on her behalf, over the course of her nineteen years at court. These independent homes represented an opportunity for Mme. de Pompadour to actively work to change public perception of herself and her role, an opportunity that she did not waste.