Claine, Guillaume



Person (Male)

Alternative name or descriptor

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules


  • Amateur / Professional


Life dates

Marche-en-Famenne, 1811 - Brussels, 1869


1847 * - 1853 / Bruxelles - Saint-Gilles, Boulevard Extérieur de Waterloo, 31
° 12.1.1811; + 1.3.1869. At this address from 8.11.1849 until 31.8.1853. Previously domiciled in Brussels - Molenbeek from 19.5.1847.
A former journalist of liberal tendency, Claine devoted his leisure to photography on paper (calotype) from 1847 and entered into collaboration with Louis Jacopssen, a landowner of private means (see that name). Together they made prints on salt paper: views of Bruges, Ghent, Brussels, and especially of the Royal Palace at Laeken. At the end of 1849 he solicited the Belgian government for a subsidy. A favourable opinion given by the "Académie Royale de Belgique", obtained in large part due to Ernest Buschmann (see that name), led to the Ministry of the Interior granting Claine a sum of 1,250 francs, part of which Claine spent on the purchase of a more efficient lens in Paris. Initiated into Niépce de Saint-Victor’s albumen process by the inventor himself, Claine declared, in a letter to Buschmann: "Throw photography on paper onto the fire! Glass has triumphed." In the second half of 1850 he collaborated with Buschmann, but their attempt to construct a mechanical system for albumenizing glass plates failed.
Claine completed photographic commissions from the Ministry of the Interior in 1851 and from the city of Brussels in 1852. The latter included prints of double-plate format. The series entrusted to Claine in 1851 was the first state commission granted to a photographer for drawing up an inventory of Belgium’s architectural  heritage prior to its destruction (or, more rarely, its renovation). The commission thus constitutes a landmark event in the early history of the medium in Belgium, and would be followed by similar commissions for Claine himself (the series for the city of Brussels), as well as for Fierlants ten years later.
1853 * - 1855 ca Bruxelles, Rue du Musée, 1
In 1854, Blanquart-Evrard (see that name) published a series of ten prints - views from "negatives by Claine" - entitled "Bruxelles photographique". It was around this date that Claine abandoned photography. Recorded in the population registry as a clerk, he finished his days as a caretaker at this address, disillusioned, referring to himself as "custodian of the buildings in the back yard".


1847 * - 1853 / Bruxelles - Saint-Gilles, Boulevard Extérieur de Waterloo, 31
1853 * - 1855 ca Bruxelles, Rue du Musée, 1


Brussels, 1851 (in partnership with Louis Jacopssen); Brussels, 1853.

Genres / subject matter



JOSEPH, S.F. & SCHWILDEN, T. A l'aube de la photographie en Belgique : Guillaume Claine (1811-1869) et son cercle. Brussels, 1991, 120 pp.




Record source



Level of detail

Dates of creation/revision

SFJ revised 31.1.2017 & 27.7.2021; SFJ revised 17.6.2023 based on information supplied by M. Demaeght




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