(b Auxerre, bapt May 28, 1743; d Stockholm, March 19, 1804).
French painter, stage designer and architect. After studies at Jacques-François Blondel’s private school, Desprez continued his architectural training at the Académie Royale d’Architecture, Paris, in the 1760s and, after several attempts, won the Prix de Rome in 1776. Soon after his arrival in Rome (1777) he was asked by the Abbé de Saint-Non to prepare illustrations for his famous Voyage pittoresque, ou description des royaumes de Naples et de Sicile (Paris, 1781–6; drawings in London, BM, and Besançon Mus. B.-A. & Archéol.). With the permission of the Académie, he joined Saint-Non’s team, and during their pioneering tour of southern Italy Desprez produced innumerable topographical drawings and watercolours that are remarkable for their vitality and accuracy. Back in Rome (1779), he completed the 135 illustrations selected for the engravings and resumed his architectural studies.
By the time Desprez sent a design for a public bath to the Académie in Paris in ...