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

Inventory Number: 33743
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 or test sheet by W. H. F. Talbot, undated but 1839, showing four approximately square segments that exhibit slightly different colouring or shades. One segment (bottom left) is reddish brown, with a light dot in the middle; the others are dark to lighter shades of mauve-lilac. The back is purple in one segment, much lighter in others. This tiny test sheet presumably illustrates a topic discussed by Talbot and Herschel, though it is not clear whether the 'states' are chemical (different mixtures or concentrations) or photo-chemical (different exposures), or indeed since the title of the wrapper containing it is 'Fixed with salt &c.' stages or methods of fixing. 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: '4 states of | Bromide | of Silver' [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
Height Width Depth Diameter Unit
25 26 mm


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