Photogenic drawings showing a species of butterfly., 1970s
4 0 c m
actual image size: 21cm x 32cm

Photogenic drawings showing a species of butterfly., 1970s

© Science & Society


Seven photogenic drawings, possibly made by the Talbotype process but probably fake and made in the early 1970s. One of these drawings has a Whatman watermark of 1839 and the paper appeared to be genuine. They were acquired on the basis of being important early photographs. They appeared to the Honorary Curator of Photography, Harry Milligan, to have been made by contact printing on salted paper and fixed by Hypo, according to Fox Talbot's later method as published in 1845. It subsequently transpired that Shaw had taken similar drawings to the Science Museum in April 1975.which had acquired them. Some were also sold in a London auction room with the attribution 'as accepted by the London Science Museum'. Shaw later brought in the daguerreotypes of the moon but there were expert doubts on the authenticity of these. The police searched Shaw's premises but found no evidence of forgery or faking. He was eventually charged with 'false pretences' and found guilty.

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