Femme of the Week: Comtesse de la Châtre | Marie Antoinette's Gossip Guide to the 18th Century: Femme of the Week: Comtesse de la Châtre

December 05, 2008

Femme of the Week: Comtesse de la Châtre

Connections paved the way for the baby girl born Marie Charlotte Louise Perrette Aglaé. Her father was the first valet de chambre of Louis XV, Bontems. He had connections with a well known court banker Samuel Bernard, making life, shall we say, easier? It is good to be connected with bankers because then, when your important friends need favors, you are there to help! Another famous person of the circle was the banker Nicolas Beaujon, who married Bontems sister. So when Bontems first daughter was born, Charlotte was loved by all, and all were quite wealthy. Her uncle, Banker Beaujon, gave her a very large dowry, and for his generosity she can thank him for her exciting future adventures.

First of all, with such a large dowry she was able to marry well. When she was 16 became the Comtesse de la Châtre, she married Claude Louis, the Comte de la Châtre. Her title was exquisite. The comte was 35 years old at the time and worked for the Comte de Provence. A true blue noble, he came from old-money and as the revolution stirred, he sided with the conservative old nobility, which was fine....

....but, his young and lively wife did not share the same opinions. Had Charlotte better morals, then perhaps she would have stood by the old comte but no! The vivacious girl found herself fully infatuated with the Marquis de Jaucourt (right). They became lovers and she was very much influenced by him and his famous circle. Through him she hung out with the likes of Mme de Staël and Talleyrand. As you can imagine she formed opinions, and desired reform and hoped a revolution would bring needed change.

Charlotte had her new friends over quite often to discuss politics and they would meet in her private sitting room just outside her bedroom. Scandalous! She would also go out with her girl friends and in a Duchess of Devonshire manner, "exhibited her civic spirit." She made, "spectacles of herself," as she shared her support for reform.

Her husband ended up fleeing to England, and when the revolution started spinning Charlotte took her son and left for England too. She ended up divorcing the Comte and married the Marquis de Jaucourt. Morals were never an issue for her!


  1. Very nice portrait! Who is the artist?

  2. Haha, love the little line drawing.

  3. Catherine: Vigée Le Brun is the artist, 1789

    Elyse: Thanks!! Or rather, thanks to Microsoft Paint!

  4. Oh I'm so glad you did her! Hands down my favorite Vigee-LeBrun; fell in love with it in the most excellent Citizens and Kings exhibition....sigh.

  5. Oh, my avatar! LOL, I use her everywhere, since several people have said this portrait reminds them of me (we have similar frizzy hair :p). Thank you for the background info, I've never been able to find out much about her.

  6. Does anyone know what happened to her son?