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

Inventory Number: 46015
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, undated but June 1839, made as a sensitising and fixing experiment, part of a series using potassium iodide and monitoring its bleaching effects and after-effects. The inscription indicates a variant preparatory and sensitising chemistry, apparently beginning with lead acetate (compare the companion experiment 94526, and 21527). The residual features Herschel notes as visible on September 14 are still just visible.

Subject: engraving 63470, lady with beads
Technique: contact copy (print) from a negative
Format: vertical
Polarity: positive
Orientation: correct
Quality: barely discernible
Colour: pale yellow, outer border brown and yellow
Chemistry: paper initially treated with lead acetate, then sodium or ammonium chloride, sensitised with silver nitrate, fixed with sodium chloride and potassium iodide
Coating: none
Inscription: chemical and procedural notes, inspection/quality notes
Paper: xxxxxx
Condition: good
Purpose: a sensitising and fixing and bleaching experiment, see above.

For fuller descriptive and historical commentary see narratives.
Primary Inscriptions: 'Ac. L + Mur. Sod or Am + NS | overfixed by Salt & | Hydriod Pot etc --[long dash] eats | it and in strong sunshine | Sep. 14. Only the hair visible | & a few traces of the dark | shades of the dress (kept in the dark)' [acetate of lead, muriate of soda or ammonia, nitrate of silver, hydriodate of potash; 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
Height Width Depth Diameter Unit
132 103 mm


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