Lafont, Charles

BORN 1 Dec 1781, Paris - DIED 23 Aug 1839, Tarbes, Hautes-Pyrénées (near)
BIRTH NAME Lafont, Charles Philippe
CAUSE OF DEATH coach accident
GRAVE LOCATION Paris: Père Lachaise, Rue du Repos 16 (division 12, ligne 03, V, 19)

Charles Lafont was first taught the violin by his mother, who was a sister of the violinist Isidore Bertheaume. He continued his studies with Rudolphe Kreutzer and Pierre Rode. He started giving concerts in Germany and other countries in 1792. He left France after the outbreak of the French Revolution and travelled through Europe. In 1808 he was engaged at the Russian court of Alexander I. He returned to France in 1815 where he became first violinist of king Louis XVIII. He played a Stradivarius violin from 1699 known as Lady Tennant-Lafont.

In 1816 he held a contest with Niccolò Paganini at La Scala. None of them was declared the winner. He was on a concert tour with the pianist Henri Herz when he was travelling in a stage coach from Bagnères-de-Bigorre to Tarbes in 1839. The coach overturned and he was killed instantly.

Related persons
• was rival of Paganini, Niccolò

11/3/1816Violin contest between Paganini and Lafont at La Scala in Milan. Lafont had challenged Paganini after he came to Milan through Rossini. Paganini, who had lived there since 1814, was unhappy to hold a contest but finally accepted the challenge. Lafont wanted to expose Paganini as a charlatan but he failed to do so. Neither of them was declared the winner and Lafont left Milan for Paris soon afterwards. [Paganini, Niccolò]


The grave of Charles Philippe Lafont at Père Lachaise, Paris.
Picture by Androom (02 Nov 2018)


Winkler Prins Encyclopedie (editie 1909), 1909
Charles Philippe Lafont — Wikipédia
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Lamb, Caroline

Published: 12 Jun 2021
Last update: 12 Jun 2021