British photographic history

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Doctoral placement: Exploring the photographic equipment of William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877) / closes 20 February 2023

The British Library’s Talbot Collection comprises a major archive of correspondence, notebooks, photographs and other material relating to the life and work of the British inventor of photography William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877). Formerly held at Talbot’s family home at Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire, the collection was presented to the British Library in 2006 by Petronella and Janet Burnett-Brown. These materials illustrate the breadth of Talbot’s cultural and scientific interests and achievements, in fields as diverse as mathematics, botany, astronomy and the decipherment of Assyrian cuneiform. The photographic component of the collection comprises approximately 1,500 paper negatives and prints by Talbot and his circle made between 1839 and the mid-1840s. In addition to Talbot’s own photographs, the collection includes important work from the 1840s by contemporaries such as Rev Calvert Richard Jones (1804-1877) and Rev George Wilson Bridges (1788-1863). There is also a small collection of daguerreotypes which includes portraits of Talbot, his children, as well as his assistant Nicolaas Henneman (1813-1898). This material is complemented by albums of drawings and prints by members of Talbot’s family.

The aim of this placement is to undertake research on the photographic equipment used by Talbot in the development of his early photographic processes. This placement will build upon existing research and examine the objects in relation to Talbot’s research notes, correspondence and notebooks that are also held at the Library. https://www.bl.uk/collection-guides/talbot-collection

Open to current doctoral students. Full eligibility criteria, funding information and details of how to apply are available on the British Library website: https://www.bl.uk/news/2023/january/phd-placement-opportunities   and  https://www.bl.uk/research-collaboration/doctoral-research/british...

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