England

Thousands of William Henry Fox Talbot photos go online

  • 11 February 2017
  • From the section England
William Henry Fox Talbot Image copyright Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford
Image caption Portraits of Fox Talbot feature in the collection of negatives

Some of the earliest photos ever taken have gone on show to celebrate the life of pioneering photographer William Henry Fox Talbot.

More than 1,000 photos can be seen on a new website produced by the Bodleian Libraries in the University of Oxford.

It aims to bring together the complete works of the Victorian photographer Fox Talbot.

Prof Larry J Schaaf, project director, said there had been "nothing like this before in the history of photography".

The Talbot Catalogue Raisonne marks the anniversary of Fox Talbot's birthday, which was 11 February 1800.

Hailed as the British father of photography Fox Talbot took the first photographic negative from a window at his home in Lacock, Wiltshire, in 1835.

Image copyright Hans P. Kraus, Jr.
Image caption The Fruit Sellers was taken in September 1845 at Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire and the shot required the sitters to hold a pose for up to 10 seconds

Born in Melbury Abbas, Dorset, in 1800, Fox Talbot established the three primary elements of the photographic process: developing, fixing, and printing using paper coated with silver iodide.

During his career he created more than 4,500 images - about 25,000 of his original negatives and prints are thought to still exist.

Image copyright Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford
Image caption The collection includes images of botany like this Three Botanical Specimens taken in about 1840

The Bodleian spent two years raising £2.1m needed to buy the private collection of photos, letters and diaries.

The catalogue of early Victorian photographic images is expected to grow to 25,000 images by 2018.

Image copyright National Media Museum
Image caption Fox Talbot took this photo of the Royal Exchange in London between winter 1844 and spring 1845
Image copyright Hans P. Kraus
Image caption Fox Talbot took hundreds of images of early cityscapes including this of Nelson's Column under construction in Trafalgar Square, in the first week of April 1844
Image copyright National Media Museum
Image caption Westminster from the Hungerford Market - London across the Thames, taken in June 1841
Image copyright Hans P. Kraus
Image caption Lacock Abbey towards Sharington Tower in about 1844

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