Bust of Patroclus

Artist: William Henry Fox Talbot (British, Dorset 1800–1877 Lacock)

Date: August 9, 1843

Medium: Salted paper print from paper negative

Dimensions: 14.9 x 14.5 cm (5 7/8 x 5 11/16 in.)

Classification: Photographs

Credit Line: Gift of Hans P. Kraus Jr., 1988

Accession Number: 1988.1159


This photograph, showing Talbot's plaster cast of a Hellenistic marble now in the British Museum, appeared as plate 17 in The Pencil of Nature. The photographic reproduction of works of art-manuscripts, prints, paintings, sculpture-would forever change both the practice of art and the study of art history. Drawing after the antique had long been a staple of artistic study, but "already," wrote Talbot in the text accompanying this image, "sundry amateurs have laid down the pencil and armed themselves with chemical solutions and with cameræ obscuræ."