Madame de Pompadour
Henri de Valoys: Charmes et Caractères de Sorcellerie de Henri de Valoys, trouvez en la maison de Miron son premier médecin.
Paris: Jean Parant, 1589Sp Coll Ferguson Af-g.24
The binding of this volume is stamped with what appears to be the defaced arms of Madame de Pompadour (1721-1764), mistress of King Louis XV of France. Born Jean Antoinette Poisson, she was probably the illegitimate daughter of a prominent nobleman. She was apparently intelligent, highly attractive, educated, and accomplished in the arts of music and dancing. At the age of nineteen she married Charles-Guillaume Le Normant D'Etiolles, and soon reigned over the fashionable world of Paris, catching the King's eye, and becoming his mistress. By March 1745, she was living in Pompadour, one of several residences Louis was to give her, and was granted the title of Marquise.
She had a keen interest in literature, was a major patron of the arts and architecture, and befriended many artists and cultural luminaries, including Voltaire. Her attempts at politically influencing the King were much less successful.
The Henri de Valoys referred to in the title of this work is Henry III (1551-1589), the last of the Valois kings of France. During the later part of his reign, Henry suffered a series of personal attacks in pamphlets supported by his adversaries (especially the powerful and politically ambitious Guise family) in an attempt to destroy his reputation. A number of scurrilous "biographies" contained accusations of immorality and involvement in witchcraft or sorcery. It was claimed that this is the published text of a secret manuscript belonging to Henry discovered in the house of his doctor, Miron, along with items for use in black magic rituals.
This volume will be on display in the Special Collections Department foyer until 14th April 2011.
Image: Binding of De Valois, Henri: Charmes et Characteres de Sorcellerie de Henri de Valoys.
Go to the next book in the exhibition, previously owned by: Adam Smith.