The Seine at Rouen

William Henry Fox Talbot (British, Dorset 1800–1877 Lacock)
May 1843
Salted paper print from paper negative
16.3 x 17.8 cm (6 7/16 x 7 in. )
Credit Line:
The Rubel Collection, Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace and Anonymous Gifts, 1997
Accession Number:
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.]

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "The Art of Photography 1839-1989," February 11, 1989–April 30, 1989.

Canberra. National Gallery of Australia. "The Art of Photography 1839-1989," June 17, 1989–August 27, 1989.

London. Royal Academy of Arts. "The Art of Photography 1839-1989," September 23, 1989–December 23, 1989.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Inventing a New Art: Early Photographs from the Rubel Collection in the Metropolitan Museum of Art," June 1, 1999–September 19, 1999.

Weaver, Mike, ed. The Art of Photography, 1839–1989. New Haven: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1989. no. 15.

Weaver, Mike. The Art of Photography 1839-1989. London: Yale University Press, 1989. pl. 15.

Schaaf, Larry J. Sun Pictures, Catalogue Eight: The Rubel Collection. Sun Pictures. New York: Hans P. Kraus Jr. Fine Photographs, 1997. p. 15.

Daniel, Malcolm. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin: Inventing a New Art: Early Photographs from the Rubel Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art 56, no. 4 (Spring 1999). p. 10.

Batchen, Geoffrey. William Henry Fox Talbot. New York: Phaidon Press, 2008. no. 33.

Schaaf, Larry J. William Henry Fox Talbot Catalogue Raisonné Oxford: Bodleian Libraries, 2017.