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Photograph (Experimental Photogenic Drawing), by Sir John Herschel, February 7, 1839

preview image for Photograph (Experimental Photogenic Drawing), by Sir John Herschel, February 7, 1839
Inventory Number: 18828
Object Type:
Persons: Sir John Frederick William Herschel (Photographer)
Date Created: 1839
Accession Number: 1928-71
Brief Description: Experimental photogenic drawing by Sir John Herschel, February 7, 1839, made as a hypo fixing and positive printing experiment during the earliest phase of his photographic researches. This is the oldest dated item among Herschel's photographic experiments, dated February 7, 1839 [Herschel's experiments began on January 29, Talbot's invention of the photogenic drawing was announced on January 25]. It represents both of Herschel's main concerns at this early period. Being a positive, it is not only a hypo fixing experiment but an experiment in 're-reversal' or 're-transfer' - the correction of the tonal reversal by making a positive photogenic drawing from a negative photogenic drawing.

Subject: engraving, grand building with gabled pediment and arches [Edinburgh Royal Exchange]
Technique: contact copy (print) from a negative
Format: horizontal
Polarity: positive
Orientation: correct
Quality: very faint
Colour: pale fawn or very pale sepia, greyish fawn and sepia stains on back
Chemistry: silver based, hypo fixed
Coating: none
Inscription: date
Paper: normal, thickish
Condition: good
Purpose: a hypo fixing experiment and also a positive printing experiment.

For fuller descriptive and historical commentary see narratives.
Primary Inscriptions: 'Feb.7/39' [in Herschel's hand]. Also part of inscription on front, bottom right.
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
Height Width Depth Diameter Unit
98 152 mm


Image with multimedia irn 18460

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