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Ancien Regime

Editor's choice
By Colin Jones

Colin Jones and Emily Richardson reveal a little-known collection of obscene and irreverent 18th-century drawings targetting Madame de Pompadour, the favourite mistress of Louis XV of France.

“If ever a house radiated cheerfulness, that house is Versailles." Miss Mitford writes of the palace in the middle years of King Louis XV.

A slideshow of irreverent 18th-century drawings targetting Louis XV's favourite mistress.

In this month's edition: obscene caricatures of Madame de Pompadour, lost photographs from Captain Scott's last expedition, and Germany's Jewish soldiers in the First World War.

In the mid-18th century – at the height of the power struggle between France and England and the political ferment of both nations – a French spy with a peculiar personal agenda came to prominence in London. Jonathan Conlin tells his story.

Already rocked by defeats in the War of the Spanish Succession, Louis XIV’s France faced economic meltdown as the chaotic nature of its finances became apparent. Guy Rowlands discovers striking parallels with the current credit crunch as he charts the crisis that was to lead, ultimately, to the French Revolution.

On January 5th, 1757, Robert-Francois Damiens attempted to assassinate Louis XV.

Colin Jones discusses the art and artifice of the leading mistress of Louis XV.

Vivienne Larminie explores the history of the Pays de Vaud, showing how resistance to Protestant reform gave rise to a distinctive culture and, in 1798, a revolt against foreign rule.

David Parker defends a controversial term against its critics.

Richard Wilkinson reassesses the much-maligned prelate, asking whether the man who steered France through the minority of Louis XIV deserves such as bad press.

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