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Calvert Richard Jones
20.9 x 15.8 cm (8 1/4 x 6 1/4 ins)
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Gilman Collection, Purchase, Joseph M. Cohen Gift, 2005, Accession Number: 2005.100.3
Curatorial description (accessed: 13 October 2016)
Calvert Jones applied his considerable experience as a watercolorist and amateur daguerreotypist to his use of the calotype process, but he struggled with the required manipulations and formulations and finally sought instruction directly from Talbot and Henneman in 1845. Clearly grasping the potential of photography to bring the world to the armchair traveler, Jones was eager to master the calotype before setting sail for Malta and Italy later that year in the company of Kit Talbot, a cousin of Henry Talbot. It was Kit, a friend and Oxford schoolmate, who introduced Jones to the calotype process. More adept at composing his pictures than at printing them, Jones sent most of his Maltese and Italian negatives to Henneman's Reading establishment for printing and sale.
Given Jones's greater attention to the negative than to the positive, it is not surprising to find that this image, made after his return to England, is far more legible and engaging than most paper negatives. Waxed and ironed for extra translucency, the negative yields nearly all its detail and sculptural presence, as if it were itself a positive print. The young man, perhaps Jones's gardener David Roderick, appears in many of his photographs.