Attributed to William Henry Fox Talbot (British, Dorset 1800–1877 Lacock)
Attributed to Nicolaas Henneman (Dutch, Heemskerk 1813–1898 London)
Salted paper prints from paper negatives
Left image: 18.6 x 22.4 cm (7 5/16 x 8 13/16 in.)
Right image: 18.1 × 22 cm (7 1/8 × 8 11/16 in.)
Overall sheet: 19.9 × 49.1 cm (7 13/16 × 19 5/16 in.)
Gilman Collection, Gift of The Howard Gilman Foundation, 2005
Not on view
The widespread distribution of large editions of photographic prints was the promise of Talbot's negative-positive process and its principal advantage over the contemporaneous French daguerreotype. In early 1844, in an effort to encourage the mass production of paper photographs, Talbot supported Nicolaas Henneman, his former valet, in the creation of the first photographic printing firm, situated in the town of Reading. It was there that prints for The Pencil of Nature were produced. The activities of the Reading establishment are shown here: Talbot, operating the camera at the center, makes a portrait, while at the right Henneman photographs a sculpture of the Three Graces. Other employees copy an engraving, stand attentively with a second camera back-loaded with sensitized paper, attend the racks of glass frames in which negatives and photographic paper are sandwiched for printing in sunlight, and adjust a device likely intended to aid focusing.
Inscription: 2005.100.171.2 inscribed in ink on print, verso BL: "I. HW." [intensified by Harold White]
By descent to the artist's granddaughter, Matilda Talbot; Harold White, probably 1940s-50s; [Hans P. Kraus, Jr., New York]; Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York, January 21, 1988
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Pencil of Nature," January 24, 1989–April 9, 1989.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," May 25, 1993–July 4, 1993.
Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland. "The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," August 7, 1993–October 2, 1993.
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," June 19, 1994–September 11, 1994.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Photography: Processes, Preservation, and Conservation," January 30, 2001–May 6, 2001.
Newhall, Beaumont. Latent Image: The Discovery of Photography. 1st ed. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Company, 1967. no. 24.
Gernsheim, Helmut. The History of Photography from the Camera Obscura to the Beginning of the Modern Era. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1969. no. 78.
Schaaf, Larry J. Sun Pictures, Catalogue Three: The Harold White Collection of Works by William Henry Fox Talbot. Sun Pictures. New York: Hans P. Kraus Jr. Fine Photographs, 1987. pl. 56.
Hambourg, Maria Morris, Pierre Apraxine, Malcolm Daniel, Virginia Heckert, and Jeff L. Rosenheim. The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1993. p. 266.
Elderfield, John, and Peter Galassi. In the Studio: Photographs. Vol. 1. New York: Phaidon Press, 2015. pp. 11-12, fig. 1.