In the latest issue of Ancient Egypt magazine  (No.78, June-July 2013) I have an article entitled “Egyptology and Photography: Two Founding Fathers”  which traces the correspondence between W H F Talbot and Egyptologist Karl Richard Lepsius in the 1840s. Lepsius was then preparing for his pioneering expedition to Egypt, and wanted to learn the art of photography from Talbot so that his team could use cameras to record inscriptions and ancient monuments.  As well as examining the evidence for what actually happened in Egypt, the article discusses Talbot's interest in Egyptology and ancient languages.

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  • Dear Mirjam,


    Many thanks for your comment and the very helpful pointers towards other studies of the topic. I began working on the Talbot-Lepsius links over a decade ago, and - due to problems behind the scenes at 'Ancient Egypt' magazine - my article was accepted in 2010 but remained in limbo for almost three years before being published. My article would doubtless have benefitted from my having been able to consult these works, but at least now I am aware of them, and look forward to reading more on the subject. My article was skewed slightly towards a more general audience and lacked some of the scholarly apparatus expected in an academic publication, but I am delighted to learn that someone else had read it! Thanks again

  • Dear James, I was very interested to read your article. For a different view on Talbot Tiglath Pileser incident I can recommend Robson, Eleanor, "Bel and the Dragons. Deciphering Cuneiform after Decipherment.," in  M. Brusius, K. Dean, C. Ramalingam  (Hg.), William Henry Fox Talbot: Beyond Photography, (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2013), 193-218. There is more on Talbot's interest in the antique in the book. For Lepsius and Talbot, Ingelore Hafemann has published "Richard Lepsius, William Henry Fox Talbot und die frühe Fotografie," Göttinger Miszellen: Beiträge zur ägyptologischen Diskussion (2009), 119-125 a few years ago. Hafemann has intensively worked on the Berlin Lepsius archive. I have touched on Lepsius and Talbot in my PhD and in "Inscriptions in a double sense: An early scientific photograph of script," Nuncius. Journal of the History of Science 24 (2009), 367-392 and came to a different conclusion as far as the actual use of photography in Egypt and Egyptology was concerned. Anyway, interesting read and happy to exchange more articles and ideas, if of interest.

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