Out & About in Switzerland: Images from the 19th century

Visitors admire the splendours of 19th century living at the castle Wildegg. Swiss National Museum

A special exhibition at the Wildegg castle north of Zurich is shedding light on travel in the 19th century. It is called "Travelling across Switzerland with a pad and pencil" and ends on October 31.

This content was published on October 19, 2000

The exhibition showcases the works of three 19th century travellers, Henriette Fortescue, Ludwig Vogel and Christian Allers, who visited the country in 1820, 1857 and 1889 respectively.

The combined sketches document the rapid changes that took place during the century. Fortescue's drawings depict modest inns and a pristine landscape, while in Allers' works the inns have been transformed into grand hotels served by mountain railways.

The Baroque Wildegg castle was bequeathed to the federal government in 1912 by the last descendant of the Von Effinger family, which first acquired the estate in 1483. It's now an annex of the Swiss National Museum and displays original furniture from the 17th through the 19th centuries.

Another exhibition at the National Museum's domicile in French-speaking Switzerland focuses on the Napoleonic Wars of the early 19th century. Housed in the Château de Prangins above Lake Geneva near Nyon, the exhibition, "The Balance of Nations - images and caricatures of Napoleonic Europe", runs until January 14.

Engravings and caricatures were the main means of communicating events to the public during this turbulent period and some of these important collections are the focus of the exhibition.

The château couldn't be a more appropriate place to commemorate the era: it was here that Napoleon found refuge in 1814 and 1815.

Since it was built in the 1730s, it has also served as a gentleman's residence and a boarding school.

Today, the museum is dedicated to different themes highlighting private and political life in 18th century Switzerland before Napoleon set up the short-lived Helvetic Republic.


Out & About in Switzerland is updated regularly to keep you informed of upcoming events, which may provide a different insight into the country and its people.

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