History of Science Museum: Collection Database Search

Record Details

Photograph (Experimental Photogenic Drawing, Cyanotype), by Sir John Herschel, c.1842

Inventory Number: 76956
Object Type:
Persons: Sir John Frederick William Herschel (Photographer)
Date Created:
Accession Number: 1928-71
Brief Description: Experimental photogenic drawing (cyanotype) by Sir John Herschel, undated, c.1842. No image and no border (but trimmed), with apparent cloud and cross of light effects: clear vertical line right of centre, pale to right of line, darker blue bottom left quarter, cloudy especially at centre, wavy line of apparent cloud effect across middle, diagonal light cross coming from centre across top left quarter. Although it seems improbable that the effects are anything but accidental, the complete absence of image and the vertical line dividing a darker from a paler area suggest a test sheet or other deliberate experiment. The wavy line that looks like clouds is presumably a liquid or water stain, which likewise suggests a test sheet of some kind.

Subject: no image, but apparent cloud and cross of light effects
Technique: not apparent
Format: not apparent [treated as cross in top left quarter for purposes of description]
Polarity: not apparent
Orientation: not apparent
Quality: no visible image
Colour: blue, pale blue back
Chemistry: cyanotype
Coating: none
Inscription: part of number
Paper: xxx
Condition: good
Purpose: a cyanotype experiment, perhaps some kind of test sheet (see above).

For fuller descriptive and historical commentary see narratives.
Primary Inscriptions: Number beginning 7 trimmed away.
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
91 95 mm

Narratives

Permalink: http://www.mhs.ox.ac.uk/object/inv/76956