A resurgence of scholarly interest in Louis Carogis de Carmontelle has drawn attention to the diverse accomplishments of a neglected playwright, critic, inventor, and artist.
While serving as lecteur to Louis-Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, Carmontelle was responsible for the education of the Duke’s son; organized performances and other entertainments at the Duke’s château; wrote over 100 plays; designed landscape gardens; and created, among other drawings and watercolors, over 700 portraits of musicians.
These portraits offer a unique historical and cultural record of French society, musical practice, and taste in the 1760s and 1770s—including a portrait of the young Mozart performing at the harpsichord with his father and sister during their visit to Paris and Versailles from late 1763 to early 1764 (above; click to enlarge).
This according to “Carmontelle’s portraits of 18th-century musicians” by Mary Cyr (The musical times CLVIII/1941 [winter 2017] pp. 39–54).
Today is Carmontelle’s 301st birthday! Below, a silent film of his rouleau transparent depicting figures walking in a park, one of the many diversions he created for Louis-Philippe’s court.