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Michelle Lespes

[Camelot]

(b Douai, Jan 12, 1702; d Paris, March 4, 1766).

French painter and collector . His father, Jean-Baptiste Havet, a doctor of Armenian origin, died when Aved was a child. He was brought up in Amsterdam by his step-father, a captain in the Dutch Guards. At 16 he is said to have become a pedlar or ‘camelot’ (hence the nickname given to him by his French acquaintances) travelling through the Netherlands, drawing portraits at fairs. In 1721, after spending short periods in the Amsterdam studios of the French engraver Bernard Picart and of the draughtsman François Boitard (1652–1722), he left the Netherlands to work in the Paris studio of the fashionable portrait painter Alexis-Simon Belle. At this time he met other notable painters including Carle Vanloo and the portrait painters Maurice-Quentin de La Tour, Jean-Baptiste Perroneau and Jean-Etienne Liotard. He also formed a deep and lasting friendship with Jean-Siméon Chardin, with whom he may have collaborated on occasion; they used similar techniques, and he may have encouraged Chardin to turn from still-life painting to figure painting in the 1730s....