Charles Cournault

Charles Cournault, an unparalleled draughtsman, joined the Commission de Topographie des Gaules in December 1866 and became one of its most active correspondents.

© Musée Lorrain, Nancy

Charles Cournault, an unparalleled draughtsman, joined the Commission de Topographie des Gaules in December 1866 and became one of its most active correspondents.

An artist with a passion for archaeology

Charles Cournault, from Langres, initially studied history and law. An amateur artist, he also studied art in Paris and was close to the painter Eugène Delacroix. Passionate about history and archaeology, he soon became a member and correspondent of a large number of scholarly societies, such as the Société orientale de Paris, Société historique et archéologique de Langres and Société lorraine d'archéologie.

Curator of the musée Lorrain serving the commission

In 1859, he was appointed a corresponding member of the Comité du Musée lorrain. Two years later, he became the museum’s first curator, a post which he held for 30 years. He participated in the uncovering of numerous remains and reproduced discoveries in his highly accurate drawings and watercolours. Thanks to his skills as a draughtsman, in the 1870s, he was sent by the Minister of Education and the Beaux-Arts to Switzerland, Germany and Austria to produce drawings of objects discovered there. He also played an active role in the collection of inscriptions led by General Creuly, sending him several series of estampages.