History of Science Museum: Collection Database Search

Record Details

Photograph (Experimental Photogenic Drawing) of Houses, by Robert Hunt, from the Photographic Experiments of Sir John Herschel, 1839

Inventory Number: 34450
Object Type:
Persons: Robert Hunt (Photographer)
Sir John Frederick William Herschel (Owner)
Date Created:
Accession Number: 1928-71
Brief Description: Experimental photogenic drawing of houses by Robert Hunt, undated but 1839, using his own 'photographic drawing' process (see 86717). It is a direct-positive camera image of a row or street of houses or shops from a slightly elevated viewpoint, the centre of of the composition being a three-storey building with a double-fronted shop at ground level; it is reasonable to assume that it is a photograph of Hunt's own home and chemist's shop in Devonport (near Plymouth). The image is faint and probably faded, its pale yellow colour typical of Hunt's process and resulting from his use of iodides. In spite of the inscription there is only this one camera image in Herschel's packet of Hunt specimens (the other five being leaves and engravings). Mounted on slightly stiffer paper with part of the Whatman 1838 watermark. Given to Herschel by Hunt as a specimen of his experiments and of the direct-positive photogenic drawing process he invented and (briefly) marketed.

For fuller descriptive and historical commentary see narratives.
Primary Inscriptions: Inscribed on back of mount: "Both Camera Views | washed with Ammon: Mur: | bleeched by Baryt: Hydriodat" [in Robert Hunt'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
77 91 mm


Permalink: http://www.mhs.ox.ac.uk/object/inv/34450