ANNA MALASPINA DELLA BASTIA (1727-1797)


Anna Maria, “Annetta” Malaspina was born in Sienna on Nov. 28th, 1727. She was the daughter of Giovan Cristoforo Malaspina de Mulazzo and of Dejanira Malaspina de Podenzana. In 1751, she married Giovanni Malaspina della Bastia, a gentleman at the court of Don Felipe de Bourbon, Duke of Parma and son of Elizabeth Farnese and Philip V of Spain.

Parma court was much reputed at the time, mainly through the links between the Duke and the  largest European courts and thanks to the ducal couple's enlightened education. Parma was then considered as a “little Paris” or else “the Italian Athens”. One could meet a lot of artists there, as well as nearly four thousand French people, under Guillaume du Tillot's authority, Prime Minister and a Frenchman too.

Thanks to the nobility of her house, Anna Maria was appointed lady-in-waiting to Duchess Louise Elizabeth, Louis XV's eldest daughter. A very influential person by the court, the marchioness took part in the numerous literary and mundane events and accompanied Duchess Louise Elizabeth to Versailles several times, where they stayed from 1757 to 1760. At Louis XV's court, Anna Maria Malaspina even became a rival to the Marchioness of Pompadour, the king's official favourite. At the same time, her brother Cesare was chamberlain to Grand Duke Peter Leopold of Tuscany.

 
In 1765, the marchioness accompanied Princess Louise Marie to Genoa during her trip to Spain, where she was going in order to marry the prince of the Asturias, who would become Charles IV of Spain.

After the dismissal of Du Tillot, her protector and friend, and the arrival in Parma of Duchess Marie Amelie, daughter of Empress Marie Therese, Anna Maria managed to keep her influence by the court for some time. Yet, because of the new duchess's enmity, discernible in spite of the empress's remonstrance, she had to withdraw at the beginning of the 1770s'.

Many artists kept praising her beauty and her qualities up to her death in 1797.