From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Marie-Louise O'Murphy de Boisfaily (21 October, 1737 – 11 December, 1814) was a child-courtesan, one of the several mistresses of King Louis XV of France, best-known through her two portraits by French painter Boucher. See also Casanova and O-Morphi.
In 1752, at fourteen years of age, she posed nude for two similar memorable and provocative portraits by artist François Boucher. Her beauty caught the eye of Louis XV. He took her as one of his mistresses, and she quickly became a favourite, giving birth to the king's illegitimate daughter, Agathe Louise de Saint-Antoine (1754 – 1774). General de Beaufranchet is also thought to have been her child but conceived legitimately with the comte de Beaufranchet.
After serving as a mistress to the king for just over two years, O'Murphy made a mistake that was common for many courtesans, that of trying to replace the official mistress. Around 1754, she unwisely tried to unseat the longtime royal favorite, Madame de Pompadour. This ill-judged move quickly resulted in O'Murphy's downfall at court; a marriage was arranged to comte de Beaufranchet. He died for France in 1757, at the battle of Rossbach. She would marry twice more, her third husband being thirty years her junior. The last marriage ended in divorce.
Her life was dramatised in the 1997 novel Our Lady of the Potatoes.