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Henry Fox Talbot 
Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire 
[The Pencil of Nature, Part 3, pl. 15] 
1844 (published) 
  
Calotype 
Hans P. Kraus, Jr., Inc. 
Taken from the reproductions in Larry J. Schaaf, H. Fox Talbot's The Pencil of Nature; Anniversary Facsimile (New York: Hans P. Kraus, Jr. Inc., 1989). The originals selected for this publication were the best single examples available for each plate. Not to be reproduced without permission of H.P. Kraus, Jr. 
  
 
LL/18332 
  
One of a series of views representing the Author's country seat in Wiltshire. It is a religious structure of great antiquity, erected early in the thirteenth century, many parts of which are still remaining in excellent preservation. This plate gives a distant view of the Abbey, which is seen reflected in the waters of the river Avon. The spectator is looking to the North West.
 
The tower which occupies the South-eastern comer of the building is believed to be of Queen Elizabeth's time, but the lower portion of it is much older, and coeval with the first foundation of the abbey.
In my first account of "The Art of Photogenic Drawing," read to the Royal Society in January, 1839, I mentioned this building as being the first "that was ever yet known to have drawn its own picture."
 
It was in the summer of 1835 that these curious self-representations were first obtained. Their size was very small: indeed, they were but miniatures, though very distinct: and the shortest time of making them was nine or ten minutes.
 
H. Fox Talbot, The Pencil of Nature, (London: Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans, 1844) 
 
 
  

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Henry Fox Talbot 
  
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Henry Fox Talbot
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Henry Fox Talbot: The Pencil of Nature 
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Henry Fox Talbot: The Pencil of Nature (1844-1846) 
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Contemporary review
 
The Pencil of Nature. By Henry Fox Talbot, F.R.S. Parts I. and II. Longman & Co,
 
The ' Pencil of Nature' is the first attempt at photographic publication. Daguerreotype plates have been etched, but as yet no etching process has been entirely successful with them. Skilful artists, indeed, have engraved them, and from these engraved plates prints have been taken and sold as Daguerreotypes; but until Mr. Fox Talbot made this experiment, no productions, which have been entirely the result of solar influence, have passed through the publishers to the public. The experiment of photographically illustrated books is now before the world; and all who see Mr. Talbot's publication will be convinced that the promise of the art is great, and its utility and excellence, in many respects, of a high order. Whilst the French have attended only to the Daguerreotype process, and stuck to the silver plates, the English, following in the footsteps of Mr. Talbot, have diligently sought after processes of equal sensibility on paper; and their zeal in the inquiry has been well rewarded : we now possess several preparations capable of receiving images with equal rapidity with the Daguerreotype; and for the cumbrous metal, we substitute the more convenient material, paper.
 
This process possesses the great advantages of giving us after we have procured and well fixed a good original any number of pictures of equal excellence and of unvarying fidelity, which is impossible with the Daguerreotype.
 
Source:
 
The Eclectic Magazine of Foreign Literature, Science, and Art, Volume 4, April, 1845, p.572

Further reading
 
Larry J. Schaaf, H. Fox Talbot's The Pencil of Nature; Anniversary Facsimile (New York: Hans P. Kraus, Jr. Inc., 1989).

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