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Court Suit, 1774-1739, French, silk. This formal suit, made or worn with a contrasting waistcoat, handsomely shows the richness of embroidery added to the luxury of patterned silk velvet. The height of the collar and the narrowness of the sleeves, cuffs, and coat fronts date this suit to the fourth quarter of the eighteenth century. Suits of this general type were retained for court wear well into the nineteenth century.
Countess Jeanne Du Barry (1743-1793) was a mistress of Louis XV, but did not become involved in politics as had her predecessor, Mme. Pompadour. While at court, she was celebrated for her beauty and natural charm. Her love of expensive jewelry and clothing were widely rumored abroad and earned her the hostility of the mobs later on during the Revolution. Banished from court after Louis’ death, she was later arrested by the Revolutionary Tribunal on charges of treason and sent to the guillotine.