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

Inventory Number: 87974
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, consisting of two nearly identical negatives attached together by a paper hinge (top left). The double negative was one of the methods Herschel tried for improving the clarity and contrast of negatives used in 're-reversal' or 'transfer' (positive printing) experiments; the other example (27282) has in addition been varnished. The top one of this pair is brown in the dark central area and border but otherwise pale or faded (perhaps deliberately overexposed); the other is paler and more reddish but essentially the same. Herschel has retouched the top one, mostly to details of the lacey top of the dress.

Subject: engraving 31452, lady standing with her elbow on a table
Technique: contact copy
Format: vertical
Polarity: negative
Orientation: laterally reversed
Quality: good, with pale areas
Colour: sepia, brown in darked area and border; reddish sepia
Chemistry: silver based, probably hypo fixed
Coating: ink retouching
Inscription: none
Paper: thin
Condition: good
Purpose: see above.

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 89 mm


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