Leaf, c 1839.
2 8 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 20cm


Photograph by William Henry Fox Talbot. Talbot (1800-1877) was a mathematician, physicist, philologist and pioneer of photography. He is best known for his development of the calotype in 1840, which was the first process for photographic negatives from which multiple prints could be made. This process made the reproduction of prints easier than ever before, and prompted the fashion for the cartes de visite. The carte de visite, or visiting card, consisted of a stylised studio portrait of family, friends or celebrities that were collected and put into photographic albums. In 1844, Talbot published 'The Pencil of Nature', which was the first book ever to be illustrated with photographs.

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© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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