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Photograph (Experimental Photogenic Drawing, Phytotype), by Sir John Herschel, c.1841

preview image for Photograph (Experimental Photogenic Drawing, Phytotype), by Sir John Herschel, c.1841
Inventory Number: 31765
Object Type:
Persons: Sir John Frederick William Herschel (Photographer)
Date Created:
Accession Number: 1928-71
Brief Description: Experimental photogenic drawing (phytotype) by Sir John Herschel, undated, c.1841, made during his exploration of alternative sensitising agents to silver salts, the most unusual of which were juices extracted from flower petals, producing these 'vegetable photographs'. Crimson poppy was the most successful, though it produced a pale or slate-blue image. This is the best surviving specimen.

Subject: engraving 42191, Grecian lady looking at the moon
Technique: direct-positive contact copy
Format: vertical
Polarity: positive
Orientation: laterally reversed
Quality: xxx
Colour: pale or slate-blue, back plain
Chemistry: phytotype, dyed with crimson poppy
Coating: none
Inscription: number, chemical note
Paper: normal
Condition: good
Purpose: an experiment with the photographic possibilities of light-sensitive dyes extracted from flower petals.

For fuller descriptive and historical commentary see narratives.
Primary Inscriptions: '1162' and [1162 crossed out] 1162 + Crimson Poppy' [in Herschel's hand] (latter upside down relative to image).
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
109 94 mm


Image with multimedia irn 18438

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