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

Inventory Number: 98786
Object Type:
Persons: Sir John Frederick William Herschel (Photographer)
Date Created: 1842
Accession Number: 1928-71
Brief Description: Experimental photogenic drawing (cyanotype) by Sir John Herschel, originally undated but 1842, dates of subsequent inspections and treatments given as October 21, 1842 and July 3, 1843. An unusual cyanotype experiment, with a long annotation recording Herschel's inspections over a long period, and several fadings and re-exposures. In summary, the image faded (disappeared to blue) when put by in the dark; Herschel exposed it to the engraving again but it faded again; on October 21 he exposed it again and noticed the revival of the earlier image; by July 3 it had disappeared again when put by in the dark; he exposed it again but this time it was not successful.

Subject: engraving, no visble image
Technique: contact copy
Format: not apparent, inscription horizontal
Polarity: not apparent
Orientation: not apparent
Quality: no image, slight hint of lighter border
Colour: strong dark blue all over, pale blue back
Chemistry: cyanotype, no washing or fixing is recorded
Coating: none
Inscription: number, long inspection and procedural note, with dates
Paper: normal
Condition: good
Purpose: an experimental cyanotype, incorporating experiments on the fading, re-exposure, and revival of the image.

For fuller descriptive and historical commentary see narratives.
Primary Inscriptions: Long inscription [in Herschel's hand]: '783 + Picture, Faded, + Another Picture (over [sun symbol]d) | again faded till Oct 21/42 when it was quite | deep blue -- Then another picture taken. [?...] | took [?...] but[underlined] beyond its margin stood out a white[underlined] picture as if an old one [?...][double underlined] | revived[double underlined] by the light!! | Oct 21 again put by in dark | July 3/43. All obliterated -- Took another impres | sion, but not good NB over sunned.'.
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
100 128 mm


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