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William Henry Fox Talbot (1800 - 1877)

Lot 30: William Henry Fox Talbot 1800-1877 , high street, oxford


April 25, 2007
New York, NY, US

More About this Item


salt print from a calotype negative, numbered 'LA 113' in a modern hand in ink on the reverse, matted, 1842


measurements note 7 3/8 by 6¾ in. (18.7 by 17.1 cm.)


Monterey Museum of Art, Passion and Precision: Photographs from the Collection of Margaret W. Weston , January - April 2003


Passion and Precision: Photographs from the Collection of Margaret W. Weston
(Monterey Museum of Art, 2003, in conjunction with the exhibition), p. 5 (this print)
Other prints of this image:
Larry J. Schaaf, The Photographic Art of William Henry Fox Talbot
(New Jersey, 2000), pl. 60
Gail Buckland, Fox Talbot and the Invention of Photography
(Boston, 1980), p.176 An Eclectic Focus: Photographs from the Vernon Collection
(Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1999, in conjunction with the exhibition), p. 28
H. J. P. Arnold, William Henry Fox Talbot: Pioneer of Photography and Man of Science
(London, 1977), pl. 51 A Book of Photographs: Photographs from the Collection of Sam Wagstaff
(Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D. C., 1978, in conjunction with the exhibition), p. 31
Sandra S. Phillips, Alan Trachtenberg, Douglas R. Nickel, and Corey Keller, Taking Place : Photographs from the Prentice & Paul Sack Collection
(San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 2005, in conjunction with the exhibition), pl. 14


On 28 July 1842, Talbot wrote to Amelina Petit, a governess and later close friend of the Talbot family, about his photographic process and a trip he took to Oxford: ?I came to Oxford to photograph the town, which is one of our most beautiful in terms of architecture. Today I have only taken three drawings [exposures], of which two have probably come out well, but the weather has been unfavourable, and above all constantly changing.? Two days later, in a postscript to his letter he continued, ?today, the 30th, I have taken several lovely views of Oxford? (http://www.foxtalbot.arts.gla.ac.uk/letters/letters.html, document number 04546). Talbot captured this quiet Oxford scene, setting up his camera just below Longwall Street, one of the main entrances into the city. The street has changed greatly since Talbot?s time, and all that is recognizable today are the buildings to the left, which now house the Ruskin School and the Examination Schools, and the dome of the Radcliffe Camera, visible in the far distance. Upon first glance the blurred lines in the foreground give the impression that the street was full of activity and movement, and the exposure in the camera was quite long. According to Talbot scholar Larry J. Schaaf, however, these faint streaks are actually flow lines from the chemicals used during processing and are present in the original negative ( cf. The Photographic Art of William Henry Fox Talbot , p. 152). Larry J. Schaaf locates the original negative and 13 prints of this image in institutional collections, including the J. Paul Getty Museum, The Royal Photographic Society, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

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