Oxford

William Henry Fox Talbot collection: Art fund grant

William Fox Henry Talbot negative
Image caption The collection includes negatives of Talbot himself

Oxford's Bodleian Library has moved a step closer to purchasing a £2.2m archive honouring William Henry Fox Talbot, "the founder of photography".

Talbot created the first commercially published book illustrated with photography, The Pencil of Nature.

The research library has been given until August 2014 to raise the final £375,000 needed to buy the collection,

It was recently gifted £200,000 by the art fund to buy the private collection of letters, diaries and photographs.

'Earliest image'

The Bodleian archive includes some of the first photographs of Oxford.

The collection has been further enhanced after a descendent of Talbot's cousin loaned 42 early photographs to the library.

Sir John Venables-Llewelyn, the great-great grandson of early photographer John Dillwyn Llewelyn, was prompted to place the previously unknown photographs with the Bodleian after hearing of the appeal.

Image caption The archive contains several early photographic images of Oxford

The 42 photographs, or photogenic drawings, many annotated by the photographer himself, depict mostly botanical specimens.

They also include images of the cloister and the gothic gateway at Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire, Oxford's Botanical Gardens, and the Tower of Magdalen College.

Other subjects include fragments of lace, a breakfast table, a tiger from a Bewick engraving, the Great Seal of England, and a facsimile of an old printed page.

The archive includes an image made by Talbot's wife, Constance, in 1839, which may be the earliest image made by a woman.

The Bodleian has also received £1.2m from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and its campaign is supported by the artist David Hockney as well as photographers Hiroshi Sugimoto and Martin Parr.

The library hopes to launch a Talbot exhibition in 2017.

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