married Jean-Baptiste Boucher de Monbrun de Saint-Laurent, a Canadian-born nobleman, at the age of fourteen in 1746. She lost her husband the following year.
The seventeen-year-old widow entered into a second union with Vincent Guillaume Le Sénéchal d'Auberville in 1749. Her new husband was a native of Brest and the colony's commissaire ordonnateur, similar to an intendant. He headed the Sovereign Council of Louisiana in New Orleans. Working together with the governor of the province, Pierre de Rigaud, marquis de Vaudreuil-Cavagnal, d'Auberville served in this capacity twice, once from 1748 to 1749, and again from 1752 to 1757. In the interim he oversaw navy and military expenses, provisioning vessels as a naval commissary in New Orleans. The couple had two daughters, Marie-Louise and Elisabeth-Céleste.
Madame d'Auberville arrived in France with 60,000 livres' worth in bills of exchange from Louisiana. This was in addition to unpaid debts owed her late husband. To no avail, she sought meetings with influential ministers at court, hoping to receive payment. It was under these straitened circumstances that she married Jean-Pierre Paul Gérard de Vilemont at Versailles in 1761. They had likely met in New Orleans, where Vilemont was stationed in the 1750s. With the chevalier in the employ of Spain and returned to Louisiana in 1764, Madame de Vilemont prepared for a return to her native land. Records place her in Paris, Versailles, and Joigny after her marriage and in La Rochelle by 1764. Probably leaving for Louisiana from this Atlantic port, she traveled with her older daughter Marie-Louise, and a son, Charles-Melchior, born in 1762. Her youngest daughter remained in Paris, where she died of smallpox later that year. The family soon welcomed a second son, Jean-Paul Gérard, born in New Orleans in 1767.
Françoise's portrait was completed when she was in the prime of her life, probably around the age of thirty. Depicted in what is likely an elegant robe à la française or sacque back gown with a floral breast knot and black ribbons and lace at her throat and wrists, Madame de Vilemont holds a fan in her left hand. Her attire is consistent with documented fashions for both France and colonial Louisiana. Completing the portrait's aristocratic setting is the elegant chair just visible behind her. Given the rounded shape of the back or dossier, the chair is likely an armchair of the sort referred to as a fauteuil en cabriolet. Although it is difficult to tell, the crest rail features a carved detail, possibly a flower or a shell. A red textile, perhaps velvet, serves as an upholstery fabric.
Now a part of the Historic New Orleans Collection, the pastels of Françoise, her two d'Auberville daughters, and her third husband are among the oldest surviving portraits known to depict French colonists from Louisiana. Although the artist is unknown, Françoise's portrait provides a unique encounter with an elite inhabitant of French North America that suggests the nature of furniture in New Orleans, an outpost of French colonialism founded in 1718.
Françoise's upholstered fauteuil en cabriolet embodied the political and social culture of the French colonial regime of her youth. Unlike in Canada, no French furniture brought or exported to Louisiana is known to survive. However, other sources can help make sense of this chair and its inclusion in the portrait. For example, the chevalier de Pradel is known to have furnished his Louisiana plantation with French chairs and a couch upholstered in crimson velvet. His letters describe this order and the furniture's placement in the salle, the main public room of his Monplaisir plantation, located across the Mississippi River from New Orleans. Monplaisir was dubbed a château, and as he worked to complete it in the 1750s Pradel wrote "Although we may be in another world than France, we like our ease, and we see to our comforts as best we can." Although portraiture might idealize or even fabricate a sitter's appearance and material surroundings, the chair in question could very well have existed, perhaps brought to Louisiana by the Vilemont family in the 1760s.