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Record Details

Photograph (Experimental Photogenic Drawing, Phytotype), by Sir John Herschel, c.1841

Inventory Number: 37663
Object Type:
Persons: Sir John Frederick William Herschel (Photographer)
Date Created:
Accession Number: 1928-71
Brief Description: Experimental photogenic drawing (phytotype) by Sir John Herschel, undated, c.1841, made during his exploration of alternative sensitising agents to silver salts, the most unusual of which were juices extracted from flower petals, producing these 'vegetable photographs'. Crimson poppy was the most successful, though it produced a pale or slate-blue image. The meaning of 'doubled' is not apparent.

Subject: engraving 63470, lady with beads
Technique: direct-positive contact copy
Format: vertical
Polarity: positive
Orientation: laterally reversed
Quality: very faint
Colour: buff, image slightly bluish but very faint
Chemistry: phytotype, probably dyed with crimson poppy
Coating: none
Inscription: number, chemical and procedural note
Paper: thin
Condition: good
Purpose: an experiment with the photographic possibilities of light-sensitive dyes extracted from flower petals.

For fuller descriptive and historical commentary see narratives.
Primary Inscriptions: '1217' and '[P]oppy + doubled[?]' partly trimmed away [in Herschel'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
Dimensions:
Height Width Depth Diameter Unit
121 99 mm

Narratives

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