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Record Details

Photograph (Experimental Photogenic Drawing), by Sir John Herschel, February 16, 1839

Inventory Number: 46392
Object Type:
Persons: Sir John Frederick William Herschel (Photographer)
Date Created:
Accession Number: 1928-71
Brief Description: Experimental photogenic drawing by Sir John Herschel, February 16, 1839, made as a fixing and positive printing experiment during the earliest phase of his photographic researches. Herschel usually signed or annotated his experiments on the back, his signing on both sides suggesting the possibility that this very unusual image was achieved or manipulated in an unusual way. Both hypo and potassium ferrocyanide were used in experiments on the same day, though a green colour is typical of neither. Compare 76689 of the same date.

Subject: engraving, sailing ship (right) and yacht (left)
Technique: ?contact copy (print) from a negative
Format: horizontal
Polarity: positive
Orientation: correct
Quality: poor, dark
Colour: dark green (like metal patina) and dark grey, surrounded by wide buff border as if vignetted
Chemistry: presumably silver based, rest not known
Coating: none
Inscription: signature, date
Paper: thin
Condition: good
Purpose: probably a fixing experiment with some unusual agent, also a positive printing experiment, see above.

For fuller descriptive and historical commentary see narratives.
Primary Inscriptions: 'J.F.W.H. Photogr. | Feb. 16. 39.' on front; 'J.F.W.H.' on back [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
105 142 mm


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