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Record Details

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

Inventory Number: 70469
Object Type:
Persons: Sir John Frederick William Herschel (Photographer)
Date Created:
Accession Number: 1928-71
Brief Description: Experimental photogenic drawing by Sir John Herschel, undated but 1839, made as a fixing and positive printing experiment during the earliest phase of his photographic researches. It contains the date February 17 (the date of the negative), but was probably made on April 20 (compare 19329). This is a positive print from a negative (42550) that Herschel extensively retouched and that has completely lost its chemical image; the parts of the image surviving on the print, especially at the right, show that the negative once carried good detail. It also contains the peculiar feature that Herschel's dated inscription on the back of the negative appears on the print, and because it is showing through from the back of the negative it has become reversed and thus correctly oriented.

Subject: engraving 56241, woodland glade
Technique: contact copy (print) from a negative
Format: horizontal
Polarity: positive
Orientation: correct
Quality: burnt out at centre in a defined shape, faint image left and right with detail to tree right
Colour: very pale sepia
Chemistry: silver based, probably hypo fixed
Coating: none
Inscription: none
Paper: normal/heavyish, larger than usual
Condition: good
Purpose: a positive printing experiment using a negative (42550) that Herschel has extensively retouched.

For fuller descriptive and historical commentary see narratives.
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
113 168 mm


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