Madame de Brinvilliers  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

"The most notorious of the poisoners that derived their pernicious knowledge from this man was Madame de Brinvilliers, a young woman connected both by birth and marriage with some of the noblest families of rance. She seems, from her very earliest years, to have been heartless and depraved; and, if we may believe her own confession, was steeped in wickedness ere she had well entered her teens. She was, however, beautiful and accomplished; and, in the eye of the world, seemed exemplary and kind. Guyot de Pitaval, in the Causes Célèbres, and Madame de Sevigné, in her letters, represent her as mild and agreeable in her manners, and offering no traces on her countenance of the evil soul within. " --Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (1841) by Charles Mackay

Related e



Marie-Madeleine-Marguerite d'Aubray, Marquise de Brinvilliers (22 July 1630 – 17 July 1676) was a French murderer.


Marie-Madeleine-Marguerite d'Aubray conspired with her lover, army captain Godin de Sainte-Croix to poison her father Antoine Dreux d'Aubray in 1666 and two of her brothers, Antoine d'Aubray and François d'Aubray, in 1670, in order to inherit their estates. There were also rumors that she had poisoned poor people during her visits to hospitals. Template:Sfn

She appears to have used Tofana poison, whose recipe she seems to have learned from her lover, the Chevalier de Sainte Croix, who had learned it from Exili, an Italian poisoner, who had been his cellmate in the Bastille. Her accomplice Sainte-Croix had died of natural causes in 1672.

In 1675, she fled to England, Germany, and a convent, but was arrested in Liège. She was forced to confess and sentenced to death.

On 17 July 1676, she was tortured with the water cure, that is, forced to drink sixteen pints of water (more than 9 litres). She was then beheaded and her body was burned at the stake.

Her trial and the attendant scandal launched the Affair of the Poisons, which saw several French aristocrats charged with poison and witchcraft.

Fictional portrayals

Fictional accounts of her life include The Leather Funnel by Arthur Conan Doyle, The Marquise de Brinvilliers by Alexandre Dumas, père, and Intrigues of a Poisoner by Émile Gaboriau. Robert Browning's 1846 poem "The Laboratory" imagines an incident in her life. Her capture and burning is mentioned in The Oracle Glass by Judith Merkle Riley. The plot of the novel The Burning Court by John Dickson Carr concerns a murder that appears to be the work of the ghost of Marie d'Aubray Brinvilliers.

There have been two musical treatments of her life. An opera titled La marquise de Brinvilliers with music by nine composers—Daniel Auber, Désiré-Alexandre Batton, Henri Montan Berton, Giuseppe Marco Maria Felice Blangini, François-Adrien Boieldieu, Michele Carafa, Luigi Cherubini, Ferdinand Hérold, and Ferdinando Paer—premiered at the Paris Opéra comique in 1831. A musical comedy called "Mimi - A Poisoner's Comedy" written by Allen Cole, Melody A. Johnson, and Rick Roberts premiered in Toronto, Canada in September 2009.

The Sailor Moon musical Kessen / Transylvania no Mori (Kaiteiban), included a character known as De Brinvilliers-sensei. She was a vampire who posed as a chemistry teacher who tested her students about various poisons.

See also

female killer

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Madame de Brinvilliers" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools