Talbot was the inventor of negative/positive photography. Unlike the more limited daguerreotype, which created a single image on a silvered copper plate, Talbot’s process involved a paper negative from which multiple positive images could be printed on paper.

Talbot was the author of “The Pencil of Nature,” the first book to be illustrated with photographs. With this publication Talbot intended to detail the events and experiments that led to his discovery of the calotype process, expose the public to the fledgling medium, and suggest a variety of possible uses for photographs beyond portraiture. Talbot’s text for this still life specifically stresses the value of photography for record keeping and cataloguing collections.
Artist William Henry Fox Talbot, English, 1800 - 1877
  • Articles of China
Date 1844
Medium calotype
Dimensions Sheet: 7 1/4 × 8 3/4 inches (18.4 × 22.2 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase, Lee and Tina Hills Graphic Arts Fund
Accession Number 1991.3
Department Prints, Drawings & Photographs
Not On View
1991-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Sharp, E. "A note on William Henry Fox Talbot and The Pencil of Nature." Bulletin of the DIA 66, no. 4 (1991): 42-46, fig. 1 (ill.).