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Claude-Louis Desrais

1746–1816, Paris

Claude-Louis Desrais studied under Francesco Casanova, whose influence prompted him to specialise in historical and genre scenes. He preferred pen and ink drawings in watercolour or gouache, the energetic and fluid manner of which are reminiscent of the style of his teacher Casanova. Desrais was also one of the most sought-after fashion illustrators of the latter third of the 18th century. His small-format depictions of fashion and scenes of gallantry were mostly used to illustrate almanacs and were re-engraved by artists such as Alix, Blanchard and Le Beau. After the Revolution broke out, Desrais was probably forced to alter his style and devoted his artistic attention to contemporary events.