Marie Jeanne Gomard De Yaubernier Barry, countess du, mistress of Louis XV., born at Van-couleurs, in Champagne, Aug. 19, 1746, guillotined in Paris, Dec. 6, 1793. She was the daughter of a seamstress, and was employed in a milliner's shop in Paris, where she led a dissolute life. One of her lovers, Count Jean du Barry, brought her through his valet to the notice of Louis XV., who made her marry the count's brother, after which she was introduced at court. By her beauty and wit she retained the king's affection until his death. She cost France over 35,000,000 francs, out of which she provided for her relatives and friends, and also to some extent for charitable works. She persuaded the king to banish his prime minister, the duke de Choiseul, her unrelenting enemy, and to dismiss and exile the parliament of 1771. On the king's death Louis XVI. banished her from court, but after a year she was permitted to return to the wing of the royal palace which had been built for her use at Lucienne, near Versailles, and lived there with her lover, the duke de Brissac, in shameful luxury. After a journey to England she was arrested in July, 1793, upon a charge of having squandered public funds, conspired against the republic, and worn mourning in London for the royal family.
Sentenced to death Dec. 6, she bore herself with fortitude during the trial, but her courage deserted her on the way to the scaffold, and to the last moment she continued her piteous appeals for mercy. She was an illiterate woman, though she patronized some small poets.