Du Barry, Jeanne Bécu, comtesse (zhän bāküˈ kôNtĕsˈ dü bärēˈ, dōbărˈē) [key], 1743–93, mistress of King Louis XV of France. A courtesan of illegitimate birth, she was the mistress of Jean Du Barry when her beauty attracted (1768) the king's attention. After being nominally married to her lover's brother, Guillaume, comte Du Barry, she was installed at court (1769) and retained her influence until the king's death (1774), but she lacked the ambition of her predecessor, Mme de Pompadour. At the accession of Louis XVI she left the court. She was arrested by the Revolutionary Tribunal on charges of treason (1793) and was guillotined.
See biographies by S. Loomis (1959), A. Stoeckl (1966), and M. Ward (1968).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.