Lydia Welti Escher
- Category : 1858-births
- Type : MGE
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : Split - Small (12,25,35)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Penetration 2
Swiss patron of the arts, an outstanding woman of the Belle Époque in Switzerland, and one of the richest women of Switzerland in the 19th century, who established the Gottfried Keller Foundation.
Scion of the Escher vom Glas family, an old and influential Zürich family dynasty, she was the daughter of Augusta Escher-Uebel (1838–1864) and Alfred Escher (1819–1882), among others the founder of the Gotthardbahn. Lydia grew up at the country house Belvoir, built by her grandfather Heinrich Escher on the left shore of Zürichsee in the then village of Enge, as of today a district of the city of Zürich.
At the age of four years, Lydia lost her younger sister, Hedwig (1861–1862), and Lydia's mother died in 1864. She grew into the role of the hostess and entertainer of the numerous guests of her father, among them the Swiss poet Gottfried Keller who was also a fatherly friend, along with the painter Louise Breslau. On the morning of 6 December 1882 her father Alfred Escher died on his Belvoir estate.
On 4 January 1883 Lydia married Friedrich Emil Welti, the son of the Swiss Federal Councillor (Bundesrat) Emil Welti, one of the then most powerful people in Switzerland, and former companion and later opponent of Lydia's father.
In October 1889 Lydia and her husband moved to Florence, but shortly after, Friedrich Emil Welti went for financial reasons back to Switzerland, and left his wife in care of Karl Stauffer, a Swiss painter and Lydia's childhood friend. Lydia and Stauffer fell in love, and fled to Rome. Lydia Welti-Escher returned to her husband, soon filing for a divorce, which was eventually granted. In a state of despondency over the loss of his love, Karl Stauffer-Bern suffered a nervous breakdown, and in January 1891, committed suicide.
After four months of internment in the public psychiatric hospital in Rome, Lydia Escher was finally brought back by her husband to Switzerland. She approved his desire of divorce and a financial agreement, which committed Lydia to a payment of 1.2 million Swiss Francs 'compensation' to Welti. In the 'high society' of Zürich, Lydia was no longer accepted, and she was ostracized as an adulteress. Therefore, she moved into a house in Genève-Champel in the late summer of 1890. There Lydia Escher finished her last goal in life, the establishment of an Arts foundation, later named Gottfried Keller Stiftung, which she devoted to her fatherly friend from her youth. Lydia Welti-Escher decided to end her life on 12 December 1891; she opened the gas tap in her villa near Geneva.