Charles Meryon was a French artist who worked almost entirely in etching, as he suffered from colour blindness. Although now little-known in the English-speaking world, he is generally recognised as the most significant etcher of 19th century France. His most famous works are a series of views powerfully conveying his distinctive Gothic vision of Paris. He also suffered from mental illness, dying in an asylum.
Meryon's mother was a dancer at the Paris Opera, who moved to London around 1814 to dance there. In 1818 she had a daughter by Viscount Lowther, the future William Lowther, 2nd Earl of Lonsdale, a wealthy aristocrat and politician, and 1821 Charles Meryon by Dr Charles Lewis Meryon, an English doctor, returning to Paris for the birth, and remaining there for the rest of her life. The household in Paris was supported financially by both fathers, but more so by Lowther, whose indirect funding remained important throughout Meryon's life; he made very little money from his art.