The Calotypes of Jean Walther

Merchant Jean Walther (1806-1866) was the son of a well-known Vevey personage. Apart from cloth-trading, he was also interested in photography. In his professional capacity he met the French printer-photographer Blanquart-Evrard, who specialised in the volume reproduction of landscape photographs or other works of art working from paper negatives.

Jean Walther produced a large number of calotypes (negatives on paper) from which he printed some remarkable salted papers. His pictures documented his town and the monuments and landscapes of the surrounding Lake Geneva area: Chillon, the suburbs of Vevey, the Church of Saint-Martin, Blonay, the Domain of La Veyre, Villeneuve, Geneva, Lausanne, the shores of Lake Geneva, etc.

A sizeable collection of original salted papers and calotypes is preserved in the historic Museum at Vevey, and underwent restoration in 1995. It is a truly iconographic treasure of precious documents, which also illustrate the extremely assured eye of this photographer throughout his career.


Chillon Castle seen from the east, calotype by Jean Walther (Collections Musée historique de Vevey).