Eduard Spelterini—Photographs of a Pioneer Balloonist

Eduard Spelterini—Photographs of a Pioneer Balloonist

This book features images reproduced directly from original glass negatives documenting the journeys of the Swiss balloonist Eduard Spelterini.



Title Information

Edited by Thomas Kramer and Hilar Stadler. With contributions by Alex Capus, Hubertus von Amelunxen, Stephan Wottreng, and Henry Wydler

1st edition

, 2007

Text English and German


148 pages, 89 duotone and 15 b/w illustrations

35 x 28 cm

ISBN 978-3-85881-188-2


Billing himself as the “King of the Skies,” the Swiss balloonist Eduard Spelterini (1852–1931) enchanted the imaginations of European royalty, military generals, wealthy patrons, and the public alike with his mastery of the risky and most whimsical mode of travel ever invented—the hot air balloon. During the course of his famed aviation career, Spelterini flew his balloons through the Swiss Alps, past the pyramids of Egypt, and over the mines of South Africa.
In addition to being a pioneer of aviation, Spelterini was also an accomplished photographer. He began toting his camera on his balloon adventures in 1893, thereafter documenting the full panorama of international vistas he encountered. Eduard Spelterini—Photographs of a Pioneer Balloonist is the first book in more than eighty years to present the spectacular images of Spelterini’s journeys, reproduced directly from his original glass negatives. Accompanying the photographs are contributions from Alex Capus, Hubertus von Amelunxen, Stephan Wottreng, and Henry Wydler that examine the artist’s life and career and contextualize his work.


Also available: Eduard Spelterini and the Spectacle of Images.

Authors & Editors

Hubertus von Amelunxen

Alex Capus

Thomas Kramer

Hilar Stadler

Stephan Wottreng

Henry Wydler


“Spelterini also produced, as this oversize book reveals, splendid aerial photographs. Many of the black-and-white panoramas reproduced here from his original glass-plate negatives — images of Alpine glaciers and South African mining sites, of streets and buildings in Cairo, Zurich, Geneva and Copenhagen — are technical as well as artistic marvels. (...) By reminding us of the many obstacles he overcame, the editors have performed a valuable service. Spelterini mastered his risky profession, steering these whimsical vehicles through all kinds of weather, without killing himself or others during more than 550 flights. By unearthing photographs that continue to excite our gaze, this book restores the forgotten aeronaut to his deserved place as a pioneer of luxurious travel across the heavens.” New York Times


“Beautiful black and white bird’s-eye-views – a great treat for lovers of adventure stories.” Eyemazing