William Henry Fox Talbot

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Related to William Henry Fox Talbot: George Eastman, John Herschel, Louis Daguerre, Joseph Nicephore Niepce

Talbot, William Henry Fox,

1800–1877, English inventor of photographic processes (see photography, stillphotography, still,
science and art of making permanent images on light-sensitive materials.

See also photographic processing; motion picture photography; motion pictures.
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). A man of enormously versatile intelligence, he invented the "photogenic drawing" process in 1834. From 1841 on he patented his numerous processes for making negatives and positive prints, called calotypes and later talbotypes. His patents threatened to impede the technical progress of the medium and Talbot was forced to release his processes. His relationships with other early photographers and photographic inventors were very bitter. Talbot wrote The Pencil of Nature (1844), one of the first books illustrated with photographs. Interested also in archaeology, he was one of the first to decipher the cuneiform inscriptions at Nineveh.


See studies by A. Jammes (1974) and L. J. Schaaf (2000).

Talbot, William Henry Fox


Born Feb. 11, 1800, in Melbury House, Dorsetshire; died Sept. 17, 1877, near Chippenham, Wiltshire. English scientist and pioneer of photography. Member of the London Royal Society (1831).

Talbot, who was educated at Cambridge University, made known his discovery of the principles of photography in 1839. In 1841 he developed the calotype process, which consisted in recording an image on a light-sensitive layer that covered a sheet of paper (the negative), rather than a metal plate, as in the daguerreotype, and then transferring the image to another sheet of paper (the positive). In 1843, for the first time, he enlarged a positive print. By developing such a comparatively simple and inexpensive negative-to-positive method, Talbot opened the way to mass production in photography. He described his invention in The Pencil of Nature (1844), which he illustrated with his own photographs. Talbot also wrote works on physics, mathematics, astronomy, and archaeology.


[Evgenov, S. V.] Dager, N’eps, Tal’bot: Populiarnyi ocherk ob izobretateliakh fotografii. Moscow, 1938.
References in periodicals archive ?
In addition through their friendship with William Henry Fox Talbot they had access to the latest developments in photography.
Reverend Calvert Richard Jones and William Henry Fox Talbot created the first photograph in Swansea in 1833 yet we don't have a portrait gallery.
Examples of early photography include prints by William Henry Fox Talbot and this portrait of the poet and author Wilfred Scawen Blunt (left), taken by Lady Mary Alice Kerr c.
Lacock Abbey was the home of William Henry Fox Talbot, the inventor of the negative/positive photographic process, and now houses the Fox Talbot Museum; while Polesden Lacey was once the home of the renowned society hostess Mrs Ronald Greville, and was also where King George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother spent their honeymoon in 1923.
William Henry Fox Talbot coined "calotype" in 1840 for his developed-paper negative, which led to the first practical method of negative-positive printing in photography.
Here the collection would grow, and notable acquisitions were made of work by seminal photographers of the nineteenth century, including William Henry Fox Talbot, Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson, Roger Fenton and Julia Margaret Cameron, to name but a few.
It is difficult to single out individual items, but they include the notes, writings and experiments of William Henry Fox Talbot, which provide a deep insight into the imagery and thinking associated with the beginnings of modern photography; the extensive holdings of prints by Fenton, Cameron and Peter Henry Emerson; the myriad examples of photography's popular role, from early Daguerreotypes to the anonymous albums that tell us so much about photography's vital place in social life; the extraordinary range of photographic technologies and commercial ephemera; and recent work by important artists such as Martin Parr, Chris Killip, Graham Smith, Hannah Starkey, Susan Derges, Joan Fontcuberta, Richard Billingham and Luc Delahaye.
William Henry Fox Talbot successfully produced the calotype or salt print process in England, but it was Nicephore Niepce's creation of a heliogravure from an engraving of Cardinal Amboise that was to lead to the better trail.
Some of the very first photographic images by the pioneer of the medium William Henry Fox Talbot, inventor of the calotype, will be on view, alongside early 19th-century daguerrotypes, as will examples from other major figures, including Henri Cartier-Bresson, Julia Margaret Cameron, Dorothea Lange, Robert Frank, Edward Weston, Man Ray and Diane Arbus.
A 43p stamp in the collection celebrates the work of photography pioneer William Henry Fox Talbot and has been designed by husband and wife photography team Zafer and Barbara Baran.
Disguising the fact that the first photograph was taken by a Frenchman in 1826, they concentrate on the work of William Henry Fox Talbot in England ten years later.