The carpet

The carpet forms the base of the composition.

Its color scheme is typical of the designs of the Savonnerie factory (a manufacturer of royal carpets) during the reign of Louis XV.

The finest examples feature sumptuous colorful compositions in which frames, shells, garlands of flowers and palm leaves contribute to the overall trompe-l’oeil effect.

Carpet, Pierre Charles Duvivier, Hubert François Gravelot, Louis Tessier,
Versailles, Musée National des Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon

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The console table

The console table at which Madame de Pompadour is seated evokes the ornate Rococo pieces with which her homes were furnished. The sumptuous shell and the palm leaves between the base and the apron are typical of the finest designs by Parisian furniture makers.

Console table, David, Pierre and Michel David-Weill, Paris, Musée du Louvre

They are also found on the gilt bronze mounts that decorate the furniture.

The "de Vergennes" desk, Jacques Dubois, Paris, Musée du Louvre

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The armchair

The Marquise is sitting in a “fauteuil à la reine,” a style of armchair characterized by its flat back.

The ornately carved gilt wood of the chair is typical of the Rococo style of the 1750s. The upholstery recalls the woven fabrics with blue grounds and floral decoration that were produced by the Gobelins, a factory from which Madame de Pompadour often commissioned tapestries and seat upholstery.

Fauteuil à la Reine, Paris, Musée du Louvre

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The porcelain vase

The large vase under the console table is probably an early eighteenth-century blue and white Chinese piece; it illustrates Madame de Pompadour’s love of porcelain.

Using the services of the marchands-merciers (luxury merchants), she amassed a collection of some 300 pieces of Far Eastern porcelain, most of which had gilt bronze mounts.

Lidded vase, Limoges, Musée National Adrien Dubouché

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The wood paneling

The Marquise is portrayed sitting in a study whose walls are covered with wood paneling painted green-blue and highlighted with gold.  This setting was completely imaginary. Although La Tour depicted the domestic environment of some of his most prestigious clients (notably Gabriel Bernard de Rieux), when he worked for the royal family he was granted only brief portrait sessions in which to draw the sitters’ faces and could not work at length in the royal apartments. He therefore had to invent some of the settings, drawing inspiration from the fashions of the time.

Wood paneling with a blue and gold ground was particularly popular in the mid-eighteenth century.

Wood paneling from the Hôtel Dangé-Villemaré, Paris, musée du Louvre

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