Born illegitimate, Marie-Jeanne was the daughter of a seamstress named Anne Bécu. Her father was suspected to be a local friar who funded her education in a convent. She moved to Paris at the age of fifteen to work as a shop assistant, where she caught the attention of nobleman Jean du Barry. As his mistress, Marie-Jeanne was introduced into high society as a courtesan. Seeing her potential to rise to become the royal mistress of King Louis XV but lacking a respectable title in order to qualify for such a position, she was granted such credentials when her marriage was arranged to Jean's brother, the Count Guillaume du Barry and became Countess du Barry.
While she did serve as the King's courtesan , she did not have the popularity or influence as her predecessor, the famous Madame de Pompadour. Her relationship with Marie Antoinette (then the dauphine of France) was not good, and she refused to speak of Madame du Barry. Upon King Louis XV's death in 1774, she was banished from court.
In 1792 she was arrested by the Revolutionary Tribunal in Paris and charged with treason. Found guilty of counter-revolutionary activities, she faced the scaffold on Dec. 8, 1793. Reportedly she did not die with dignity, but rather screamed and pleaded for mercy from the jeering crowd and had to be dragged to the guillotine.
ABOUT THE DOLL
The Madame du Barry is a reworked vinyl doll standing 10" tall with hand-painted features. She wears a creamy satin underskirt with a double-row of lace trim under a dress of purple floral brocade. Wide lace and tiny roses adorn her dress. She wears a wide lace shawl around her headless shoulders.
She carries her frosted blonde head in her hand. Her hair is adorned with small roses and white feathers. Her neck is severed with a clean cut with bone and muscle showing in both ends.