Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, better known as the Marquise de Pompadour, was born in 1721 into a bourgeois family on its way up in the world thanks to its links to the world of finance. She received a refined, elegant education.
As a child, she studied music and dance with Rameau’s favorite singer, Jélyotte. Crébillon père introduced her to the theatre and the art of declamation. He was a great rival of Voltaire, who was later to become a great friend of hers. She was a young protégée of the farmer-general Le Normant de Tournehem, who may in fact have been her real father. At the age of twenty, she married his nephew Guillaume Le Normant d’Etiolles, also later to become a farmer-general. She was then in a position to be admitted to Louis XV’s court, and became the king’s official mistress in 1745.