Mme de Pompadour and Mme du Barry


I wrote about the colour pink a few weeks ago (you can read it here). Then recently I came across a pink conundrum that puzzled everyone I asked: is the hot pink ground colour of porcelain that became so popular in the 19th Century called 'rose pompadour' or 'rose du barry'?

First of all, who were Madame de Pompadour and Madame du Barry? Well, in the old days any self-respecting French King would marry purely for political gain, and then keep a maîtresse for love. Mme de Pompadour was the maîtresse of Louis XV, King of France in the 18th Century. After Mme de Pompadour died at a relatively young age, Mme du Barry was her successor.


As for the colour pink, I found references to both names and nobody seemed to agree which was which. Always intrigued by a good mystery I decided to do some research, and helped by my good friend and colleague Tom Smith from