Télesphore was the son of François Jacques Barbé. His daughter, Emelie, by his third wife, Justine Grandjon, married the luthier Charles ‘Malakoff’ Brugère.
Though Télesphore was born in Dijon both his parents – and his brother Dominique – were born, and died, in Mirecourt. He was a pupil of Honoré Derazey and subsequently worked for Charles and Pierre Charles Jacquot in Nancy, Claude Augustin Miremont, the Remy brothers, Charles François Gand (Gand père), Sébastien Auguste Bernardel, his father-in-law Jules Grandjon, and J.B. Vuillaume.
Most of Vuillaume’s instruments from the 1870-75 period were the work of Barbé, produced in his own workshop and supplied as an outworker to Vuillaume.
His own-labelled instruments, which are quite rare, are often copies of the ‘Messiah’.