Montserrat views by Laborde

Louis-Joseph-Alexandre de Laborde (Paris, 1773-1842) was a versatile and exceptional character that made his life a constant improvisation. He was a soldier, diplomatic, civilian administrator, deputy, economist, mayor, but especially scholar, artist, archaeologist and historian. In 1792, his father, banker for Louis XVI, was guillotined and his mother and sister, imprisoned. Alexandre, who was studying in Vienna, escaped. In those circumstances he began his travels among which, as he said, he visited Catalonia for the first time. In 1797 he could return to France and obtained the protection of Lucien Bonaparte, with whom he settled in Madrid between 1800 and 1803 as embassy aggregate. At this time he travels throughout Spain with a group of draftsmen who took a multitude of drawings that later would be used to the composition of the prints of his Voyage pittoresque en Espagne, in four volumes published in the press of Pierre Didot in Paris between 1807 and 1818. The Emperor Napoleon incorporated Laborde to his courtship as an expert on Spanish matters when he visited Madrid in 1808; Laborde's wife was named maid of honour of the Empress Josephine and himself, who was a judge of state, received the title of Imperial Count. A few months later began in Spain the Napoleon War. Concerning to Montserrat, almost everything that Laborde had ordered to draw, the French troops commanded by General Suchet brought it down and reduced to ruins.