15 January 2008

Background to the Talbotype or calotype

Sketch of Lake Como - Talbot - 1833
Drawing created using a Camera Lucida
source: http://www.edinphoto.org.uk/1_p/1_photographers_talbot_smm_sketch.htm

"(In) October, 1833, I was amusing myself on the lovely shores of the Lake of Como in Italy, taking sketches with a Camera Lucida, or rather, I should say, attempting to make them; but with the smallest possible amount of success...

After various fruitless attempts I laid aside the instrument and came to the conclusion that its use required a previous knowledge of drawing which unfortunately I did not possess.

I then thought of trying again a method which I had tried many years before. This method was to take a Camera Obscura and to throw the image of the objects on a piece of paper in its focus - fairy pictures, creations of a moment, and destined as rapidly to fade away...

It was during these thoughts that the idea occurred to me... how charming it would be if it were possible to cause these natural images to imprint themselves durably and remain fixed on the paper!"

Henry Fox Talbot

Illustration showing the use of the Camera Lucida
source: http://www.artlex.com/ArtLex/C.html

Lacock Abbey, Fox Talbot Museum
Country house created out of a medieval abbey,
the home of William Henry Fox Talbot
source: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/w-findaplace/w-lacockabbeyvillage.htm

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