The Art of the Letter: Madame Pompadour

I read about the recent sale of the desk of Madame Pompadour,  mistress to King Louis 15th  in London and it overwhelmed me with nostalgia. The written word, the art of the letter writing, with pen and ink is something only a few of us remember.  Here was a unique piece of art created by the artisans of France.  It is luxe, elegant, striking in its style and designed for a woman whose every day existence, was to wake up and have a cup of tea; to gaze out at her empire, dash off some choice words to friends or family or charm the heart of a king.  As the mistress of Louis 15th, the Marquis de Pompadour commanded an empire from this desk.

The celebration of the written word and the beauty of this daily experience is expressed in this exquisite piece of furniture, that is more than what it seems.  Secret drawers for love letters or important papers are constructed like puzzle pieces that have to be unlocked. Chic black and gold details of the chinoiserie style (one of the Marquise’s favorites) is also what makes this piece so extraordinary and striking. Madame Pompadour had a convent education and was required to read and write with fluency, sing, dance, recite poetry and entertain by playing an instrument or dancing.   The “Rococo” period is characterized by its colors of French blue, pale rose, elements from a fantastical ‘pastoral garden’ and the liberal use of gold. Madame Pompadour was a style maker, a lifestyle creator.  This desk is the pinnacle of her personal style:  Black and Gold and very Chic, and dare we say it,  ‘tres Chanel’.  No wonder Mademoiselle Coco herself, copies this style for her own personal apartments on the Rue Cambon, but she simply forgot to give the credit where it was due.  She owes much of her style, to the Marquise.

Madame Pompadour  had artists like Boucher and Watteau at her side to help her visualize this beautiful pastoral fantasy.  Lovers,  ladies, goddesses and clowns played their parts in this  theatrical production known as “Versailles”.   Voltaire and Diderot, were huge fans of the Marquise as without her support, this new way of thinking, the ‘Enlightenment’ would never have happened without her. All of this, from the desk of Madame, Le Marquise de Pompadour.   

This is ARTIFICE, at its best. 


NOTE:  The price of this desk is undisclosed.

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