William Henry Fox Talbot (British, Dorset 1800–1877 Lacock)
Salted paper print from paper negative
16.3 x 17.8 cm (6 7/16 x 7 in. )
The Rubel Collection, Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace and Anonymous Gifts, 1997
Not on view
Talbot traveled to Paris in May 1843 to negotiate a licensing agreement for the French rights to his patented calotype process and to give firsthand instruction in its use. No doubt excited to be traveling on the Continent with a photographic camera for the first time, he made a number of beautiful and complex pictures in Rouen, Orleans, and Paris. In a letter to his mother from Rouen on May 15, 1843, he described the scene depicted here: "Great bustle and commercial activity manifest everywhere. From early dawn to dewy eve incessant rumbling of carts & waggons-Ships constantly loading, unloading, and moving away-At one moment the quay strewed with large barrels-an hour afterwards not one of them left. Weather growing extremely stormy and rainy-nothing to be done in Calotype until it clears up."
Lacock Abbey; Mathilde Talbot; Harold White; [Sean Thackrey]; Rubel Collection; [Hans P. Kraus, Jr.]