Friday, 16 February 2018

Jeanne Baptiste d'Albert de Luynes, Comtesse de Verrue

Jeanne Baptiste was the daughter of the Duc and Duchesse de Luynes; she was born on 18 January 1670. She spent her childhood in the Port-Royal where she received her education. 
At the age of 13 she was sent to marry Auguste-Joseph-Hiérosme-Ignace Scaglia, Comte de Verrue; he acted as a diplomat to the court of the Duke of Savoy and immediately brought his new wife with him to Turin. Here, they would have four children.

When she had reached her 18th year she suddenly found herself the object of Victor Amadeus II of Savoy's attentions. Jeanne Baptiste herself seemed not very interested in becoming the duke's mistress but was put under considerable pressure from her family - and Louis XIV. The French king relished the thought of having a Frenchwoman so close to his mysterious enemy. Finally, Jeanne Baptiste gave in and the couple would have two illegitimate children.

Jeanne-Baptiste d'Albert de Luynes, Contessa di Verrua dite "Comtesse de Verrue" (1670-1736). Fille du duc de Luynes et maîtresse du Duc de Savoie.
Jeanne Baptiste

Her close relationship with the duke also meant that she encountered another figure who would come to dominate the court of Versailles: Marie Adélaide, later Duchesse de Bourgogne. Jeanne Baptiste is credited with having played a considerable part in the treaty between France and Savoy that would bring about the wedding of the Duc de Bourgogne.
Four years later war had broken out and Savoy was no longer a safe place for the Comtesse de Verrue. Thus, she escaped to France where she was lodged with her aunt at the beginning of 1701.  Her children did not come with her; she would not see them again. While she stayed there she became widowed in 1704.

One of the rumours that surrounded the Comtesse was that she had been the victim of an attempted poisoning while still in Italy. However, she had apparently managed to "cure" herself of this and she shared her methods with a certain Madame de Ventadour. Another version would have it that it was Madame de Ventadour who cured her.
Either way this would prove to be an access to court some eight years later when Madame de Ventadour saved the life of Louis XV. Although the little boy's life was probably spared more due to taking him out of reach of the doctors, the young king was very grateful to the Comtesse de Verrue.

Consequently, she found herself welcome at Versailles. Here, she would make friends with some of the most prominent members of court including the Duc de Bourbon who served as prime minister. Another aristocrat caught her eye but in a more romantic way: the Baron de Saint-Port. Rumours had it that she married him in secret but there are no actual evidence to support this. One indicator is that she would stay at the Château de Sainte-Assise whenever the court went to Fontainebleau - that château happened to be the property of the Baron de Saint-Port.

Billedresultat for comtesse de verrue

Jeanne Baptiste set herself up in Paris where she acquired the Hôtel d'Hauterive which she filled with the considerable collection of gifts she had accumulated in Italy. Having a property of her own also enabled her to indulge in the company of philosophers, men and women of letters, artists and musicians. A particular favourite of hers was Voltaire.
When she was not entertaining her guests she could amuse herself with her books or her exotic birds. As her wealth grew, so did her collections which eventually became famous throughout France.

She benefitted quite substantially from the scheme of the Englishman Law in 1719 and planned to built a new hôtel named after herself. However, it was finished in 1740 and she would never reside there.
Her popularity continued as the 1720's progressed. However, in 1734 she fell ill and found it impossible to regain her strength.

On the 18 November 1736 Jeanne Baptiste died in her estate in Paris. 


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