History of Science Museum: Collection Database Search

Record Details

Photograph (Experimental Photogenic Drawing) of Fern, by W. H. Fox Talbot, from the Photographic Experiments of Sir John Herschel, 1839

Inventory Number: 11889
Object Type:
Persons: William Henry Fox Talbot (Photographer)
Sir John Frederick William Herschel (Owner)
Date Created:
Accession Number: 1928-71
Brief Description: Experimental photogenic drawing of a piece of fern, by W. H. F. Talbot, undated but 1839. The paper is unevenly cut to an irregular shape, curved or banana-shaped, in a manner typical of Talbot; it is the larger part of a photograph of fern which he has cut into two (the small part, the tip of the fern, being 89565). The inscription suggests it is fixed with a potassium salt, possibly iodide or bromide. Given to Herschel by Talbot as a specimen of the current state of his photogenic drawing process.

For fuller descriptive and historical commentary see narratives.
Primary Inscriptions: 'Potassium' [in Talbot's hand].
Provenance: Presented by Miss Herschel and Lady Lubbock in 1928. They were the two surviving and youngest children of Sir John Herschel (Francisca and Constance).
Collection Group: Herschel's Photographic Experiments
Material(s): Paper


Permalink: http://www.mhs.ox.ac.uk/object/inv/11889