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Record Details

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

Inventory Number: 33336
Object Type:
Persons: Sir John Frederick William Herschel (Photographer)
Date Created: 1839
Accession Number: 1928-71
Brief Description: Experimental photogenic drawing by Sir John Herschel, February 16, 1839, made as a potassium ferrocyanide fixing experiment during the earliest phase of his photographic researches. No image is visible except for evidence of a darker border (indicating that it was a contact copy of an engraving), and the paper is divided into a yellow half and a pale bluish merging to pale yellow half, representing a deliberate experimental division. The line of division is distinct and caused by brushing, with brush strokes leading away from it.

Subject: engraving, no visible image, slight evidence of darker border
Technique: contact copy
Format: inscription horizontal
Polarity: negative
Orientation: not apparent
Quality: no visible image
Colour: yellow and greenish right, pale blue-grey to pale yellow left, similar but less greenish and no brush marks on back
Chemistry: silver based, fixed with potassium ferrocyanide
Coating: none
Inscription: signature, date, chemical note
Paper: normal
Condition: good
Purpose: a potassium ferrocyanide fixing experiment, with deliberate division into to halves (see above).

For fuller descriptive and historical commentary see narratives.
Primary Inscriptions: 'J.F.W.H. Photogr. Feb. 16/39. F.P.' [ferrocyanate of potash; 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
76 113 mm


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