Marie Louise O’Murphy, mistress, survivor

Tuesday, 29 May, 2012

A holiday Monday in Munich and a visit to the Alte Pinakothek art musuem. There, in the upper floor gallery reclines Marie Louise O’Murphy, once mistress of Louis XV of France. Born in 1737 in Rouen to Marguerite Igny and Daniel O’Murphy de Boisfaily, an Irish soldier who had taken up shoemaking, she was the youngest of seven children. The family moved to Paris, where the 13-year-old Marie drew the attention of Casanova, who introduced her to the painter François Boucher. After seeing an erotic study of the teen beauty, the king made her his mistress. The monarch’s chief courtesan, Madame de Pompadour, would tolerate no rivalry, however, and she had the upstart removed from court through an arranged marriage with the elderly army officer, Jacques Pelet de Beaufranchet. The ex-royal mistress Marie Louise O’Murphy was imprisoned for two years during the Reign of Terror but was spared the guillotine and died aged 77 in Paris in 1814.

M Murphy

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