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Henry Fox Talbot
Queen's College, Oxford: Entrance Gateway
[The Pencil of Nature, Part 3, pl. 13]
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.
In the first plate of this work I have represented an angle of this building. Here we have a view of the Gateway and central portion of the College. It was taken from a window on the opposite side of the High Street. In examining photographic pictures of a certain degree of perfection, the use of a large lens is recommended, such as elderly persons frequently employ in reading. This magnifies the objects two or three times, and often discloses a multitude of minute details, which were previously unobserved and unsuspected. It frequently happens, moreover and this is one of the charms of photography that the operator himself discovers on examination, perhaps long afterwards, that he has depicted many things he had no notion of at the time. Sometimes inscriptions and dates are found upon the buildings, or printed placards most irrelevant, are discovered upon their walls: sometimes a distant dial-plate is seen, and upon it unconsciously recorded the hour of the day at which the view was taken.
H. Fox Talbot, The Pencil of Nature, (London: Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans, 1844)
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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.
The Eclectic Magazine of Foreign Literature, Science, and Art, Volume 4, April, 1845, p.572
Larry J. Schaaf, H. Fox Talbot's The Pencil of Nature; Anniversary Facsimile (New York: Hans P. Kraus, Jr. Inc., 1989).