About this artwork

The philopsher and historian David Hume sat for this drawing in Paris when he was Secretary to the British Ambassador in the mid-1760s. French society ladies doted on 'le bon David' and his stay there was a social and intellectual triumph. He made friends with several of the leading French thinkers and returned to London with the brilliant but paranoid philosopher Rousseau. The two men soon fell out, each accusing the other of betrayal.

Louis Carrogis (Louis de Carmontelle)

Louis Carrogis (Louis de Carmontelle)

Louis Carrogis, (Carmontelle), the son of a Parisian master shoemaker, was a self-taught artist. He worked as a topographical draughtsman during the Seven Year's War (1756 - 63) and was then appointed tutor to the son of the Duke of Orleans. He entertained the guests at ducal gatherings with his crayon portraits drawn on the spot, recording over 750 courtiers and visitors. Carmontelle kept most of the drawings, which provide an insight into the personalities of court life on the eve of the French revolution. Multi-talented, Carmontelle also wrote plays, organised a literary salon and designed the Jardin de Monceau in Paris.