Alexandre LaBorde (French 1773-1942Alexandre LaBorde (French 1773-1842)
Comte Louis-Joseph-Alexandre de Laborde was a French antiquary, liberal politician and writer, a member of the Academie des Sciences morales et politiques, under the rubric political economy.
Aside from his examplary military service during his whole career, Laborde conceived the project of compiling a complete inventory of the archaeological heritage of France and obtained from the Minister of the Interior, the comte de Montalivet, permission to circulate a request for collaboration among the prefects of departements: the initiative was fruitless in the face of official apathy, both during the Empire and under the Restoration, but it served as a precedent for the appointment in 1834 of Prosper Merimee as inspector-general of historical monuments.
Laborde was called to the Institut de France on 29 January 1813, being made an officer of the Legion d honneur the same year. His luxurious publication seriously undermined his finances, but he remained a figure of high society of the Empire, an intimate of Queen Hortense and perhaps the ghostwriter of romances that appeared under her name, such as Le Bon Chevalier.
A mere list of Labordes publications is an indication of the range of his interests, above all the works that diffused in Europe a realistic view of picturesque Spain, suffused with the interpretations of Romanticism. His topographic itinerary Itineraire descriptif de l L Espagne proved unexpectedly useful in Napoleons invasion of Spain.