Born to a wealthy family, Walker's father was a captain in the Merchant Navy. In early 1773 my parents sent her son to the training to the famous mezzotint engraver Valentine Green. Around 1779 he graduated from the course, began to work independently, quickly earned a reputation of excellent master. In 1781 he married Mary Hearn, had three children - two daughters, Mary Ann (born 1782) and Catherine (born 1797) and son of Charles James (b. 1786).
in 1783-1784 was published in "Harrison & Co" Portrait of Catherine II, as well as the engraving "Road crew of Empress of Russia", in the technique of black mannerisms, which probably contributed to his invitation to the Russian service .
In 1784, Walker arrived in St. Petersburg and was immediately appointed engraver of the Cabinet of Her Imperial Majesty, holds the position of court engraver in the era of the reign of Paul I and the beginning of the reign of Alexander I, who granted Walker a lifetime pension.
His duties included teaching engraving business in the Academy of Arts, as well as playing in the technique of mezzotint paintings in the Hermitage collection. These works were published in two editions, entitled "Collection of Engravings of the most famous paintings in the gallery of Her Imperial Majesty Catherine II». Served as curator at the Hermitage. In 1786 for the engraving "Simeon with the Christ child in her arms" on the painting by Guido Reni, he received the title of "appointed in academics, in 1794 became an academician of the Academy of Arts and advisor.
During his stay in Russia, has repeatedly traveled to London to build sales of their products in Europe.
Like most foreign artists who worked in Russia, Walker had the right to take private orders. Thus, the graph Bezborodko invited him to lead the production of copies of engravings from paintings Russian, British, French and Italian artists from his collection (the project was not implemented because of the death of the customer). Since the death of Catherine II, until his departure from St. Petersburg in 1802 devoted himself entirely to the creation of portraits of prominent people in Russia at that time: executed portraits AD Lansky (1792), PA Rumyantsev-Transdanubian (1798) on the originals D. Levitsky, GA Potemkin of Tauride (1796), Stroganov (late 1790's) on the originals I. ; Lampi, Alexander I and his wife Empress Elisabeth Alekseevny (1802-1803) on the originals G. Kyugelhena and many others. He has also worked in technology dotted line. Train Technology mezzotint AI Selivanov.
In 1810's - 1820's turned to literary work, issuing in 1821 a collection of "Paramifiya", which combined his thoughts, observations, short stories everyday.
Walker - one of the leading representatives of European engraving of the second half of XVIII century. Russia during most of his long and fruitful. Engraver lived in Russia for 18 years and met some eighty works. Possessing virtuoso technique of black manners, he handed in his works all the advantages of original paintings, seeking in them the finest light-shadow transitions and the extraordinary wealth of shades.
Walker works are extremely rare collector's item. In addition to the technique of black mannerisms did not imply significant circulations, himself a master control and restrict printing from their boards, so as not to reduce prices on engraving. Much of the copper plates was killed during a storm near Yarmouth during the transport to England. For these reasons, the later prints, as well as low-quality prints with erased boards, almost never occur in the present time.
Creativity engraver represented in many museum collections in Russia and abroad, including the State Russian Museum, State Hermitage, the Pushkin Museum im. Pushkin State Museum of History, Victoria and Albert Museum in London, British Library, Royal Collection at Windsor, the Austrian National Library in Vienna.
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