First glass negative by John Herschel, 1839.
3 5 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 27cm

First glass negative by John Herschel, 1839.

Herschel, John F W (John Frederick William), Sir

© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


The photograph shows the decaying framework of William Herschel's forty-foot telescope. This experimental negative, silver on glass, is the earliest of a photograph on glass. The image has deteriorated badly and is barely visible. Sir John Herschel (1792-1871), was an English astronomer, mathematician and chemist and the son of Sir William Herschel. Herschel introduced 'hypo' (thiosulphate) as a photographic fixerative and discovered the cyanotype or blueprint process in 1842.



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