A Space of Their Own

Madeleine-Françoise Basseporte

April 28, 1701 – September 6, 1780

Active in: France
Alternate names: Basseforte


Madeleine-Françoise Basseporte is known for her pastels and watercolors and for her role as painting instructor to King Louis XV’s daughters. Although she studied as a history painter, Basseporte became a botanical illustrator, serving in this official role for the king. She was the only woman to hold this position, which she maintained for almost half a century. Basseporte was born in Paris in 1701. Her first instructor was Robert de Séry, a painter and engraver. Following his death, Basseporte apprenticed with Claude Aubriet, and succeeded him as the official painter to the Jardin du Roi in 1741. She maintained this position, alongside other artistic duties for the royal family, until her death in 1780.

Selected Works


Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon: die bildenden Künstler aller Zeiten und Völker. Munich: Saur, 1992.

“Basseforte, Madeleine Françoise or Basseporte.” Oxford Art Online. https://doiorg.proxyiub.uits.iu.edu/10.1093/benz/9780199773787.article.B00013206.

Bénézit, Emmanuel. Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des peintres, sculpteurs, dessinateurs et graveurs de tous les temps et de tous les pays. Paris: Gründ, 1976.

Gelbart, Nina Rattner. “Adjusting the Lens: Locating Early Modern Women of Science.” Early Modern Women 11, no. 1 (2016): 116–27.

Greer, Germaine. The Obstacle Race: The Fortunes of Women Painters and Their Work. New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1979.

Kahng, Eik, and Marianne Roland Michel. Anne Vallayer-Coster: Painter to the Court of Marie-Antoinette. Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art; New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2002.

“Madeleine Françoise Basseporte.” RKD. https://rkd.nl/explore/artists/98397.

Mitchell, Peter. European Flower Painters. London: A & C Black Publishers, 1973.

Thieme Ulrich, and Felix Becker. Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler: von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart. Leipzig: Seemann, 1907–50.