Madame de Pompadour in the Frame

23 May 2019 – 27 Oct 2019

Event times

12pm-4pm, Wed-Fri, includes Bachelors’ Wing
11am-4pm, Sat & Sun and Bank holidays

Cost of entry

Normal House and Grounds admission applies: £21 Adult, £11.50 Child, £53.50
Family (up to 2 adults + 3 children), National Trust members: Free

Waddesdon Manor

Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom

Travel Information

  • Waddesdon is putting on a free bus service to and from Aylesbury Vale Parkway station, for the main season from April to October
  • By train to Aylesbury or Aylesbury Vale Parkway station.

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This exhibition will shine a spotlight on how technology is being used to enhance our understanding of art history, enabling masterpieces which have been victims of circumstance or history to be seen as they were once intended.


François Boucher’s famous portrait of Madame de Pompadour (1756) is today one of the most prized paintings on display at the Alte Pinakothek in Munich*, yet this monumental portrait was once owned by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild.  Ferdinand had acquired it in 1887, and displayed it in his London house, 143 Piccadilly.  Either before, or shortly after he acquired it, the portrait was re-framed.

When he died, Ferdinand bequeathed the painting to his brother Nathaniel, but while the canvas eventually found its way to Germany, the impressive 18th-century frame was retained and ended up at Waddesdon Manor.

Now, thanks to a collaboration with Factum Foundation, specialists in high-resolution digital scanning technology, and with the support of the Alte Pinakothek, this new exhibition will recreate the masterpiece as it would have been known in the 19th century by Baron Ferdinand.

In a marriage of traditional conservation and restoration techniques with the most advanced 3D digital reproduction technology, it will place a facsimile of the portrait back in Baron Ferdinand’s frame, which has been conserved especially for the show.

Visitors will be able to explore for themselves other digital and 3D reproductions in touch displays, and a film will illustrate Factum Foundation’s process of re-creating Madame de Pompadour.

The exhibition will also explore the historical connection between the Madame de Pompadour painting and frame and Waddesdon and the Rothschild family. A particular highlight will be a 1757 Charles-Germain de Saint-Aubin caricature from a unique book of satirical cartoons, which is seldom on display.

What to expect? Toggle

Exhibiting artists

Francois Boucher

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