MÊRIMÊE, Jean François Léonor (1757-1836). Painter and chemist. Father of Prosper Mérimée.
Autograph Letter Signed to Messrs Nast 'fabricants de porcelaine' at rue des Amandiers-Popincourt, 1 page 8vo with address-leaf, [Paris], 9 July 1817.
Expressing regret that his duties as a 'Garde national' prevent him from dining with them the following day, but promising to do the following week, and in compensation to bring with him any information he is able to gather on the decoration of early tombs ('la forme la plus pittoresque adoptée par les anciens pour les tombeaux')
Mérimée père, an artist whose canvases were exhibited at the Salon, gradually abandoned painting in favour of history of art and chemistry, conducting experiments at the Ecole Polytechnique on the composition of paint and other materials used in early paintings, publishing the results of his work in 1830 in his Traité de la peinture à l'huile ou des procédés matériels employés dans ce genre de peinture depuis Van Eyck jusqu'à nos jours, considered to be the first study of its kind. He was Perpetual Secretary of the Ecole des beaux-arts in Paris.
Jean Hermann Népomucène Nast, an Austrian immigrant, set up his porcelain manufactory in Paris in 1783 and by 1812 was recorded as one of the biggest taxpayers in the capital. By 1810, when he patented a process for decoration in relief, his factory (in what is now the 20e arrondissement) was the largest in Paris. He died in March 1817 and the business was taken over by his sons (the recipients of this letter).