Louis Désiré Blanquart-Evrard was a cloth merchant from Lille, France who learned the calotype process from his druggist, a student of the inventor of the calotype, William Henry Fox Talbot. In 1847 Blanquart-Evrard became the first to publish the procedure for the calotype negative/positive paper process in France. He specialized in printing and issuing portfolios of photographs by other photographers, but perhaps his most significant contribution was the introduction in 1850 of the albumen paper print process, the primary printing medium until gelatin papers superceded it in the late 1800s.
Once a painter on ivory and porcelain, Blanquart-Evrard sent examples of his experiments with negative/positive paper processes to the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in London in 1851. A note attached to a frame explained: "These prints were obtained by a new process which makes it possible to produce two or three hundred prints from the same negative the same day in rainy weather." That same year Blanquart-Evrard started a printing company, the Imprimerie Photographique, to mass-produce photographic prints by other photographers, including John Beasly Greene, Charles Marville and Henri Le Secq. He later founded the successful and influential Blanquart-Evrard Printing Company for the same purpose.