Cloisters of Lacock Abbey, 1844


The John R. Van Derlip Fundexpand_more  74.12

Not on Viewexpand_more

One of the pioneers of photography, William Henry Fox Talbot created this image of his friend the Reverend Calvert R. Jones Jr. seated in the sacristy of Lacock Abbey, a favorite subject of his. Talbot often photographed the thirteenth-century building’s latticed windows, stately rooms, and fortresslike exterior. The process he developed, called calotype, employed a camera to create a paper negative, which was then contact printed to render a positive image. The paper fibers in the negative produced soft images that were well suited to depicting the brooding Gothic structure. Between 1844 and 1846, Talbot published his photographs in six installments, paired with text identifying their subjects and explaining how the images were made. Bound together, they became the first photographically illustrated book—The Pencil of Nature.

Cloisters of Lacock Abbey
Artist Life
1800 - 1877
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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