William Henry Fox Talbot Beyond Photography Katrina Dean, Chitra Ramalingam, Mirjam Brusius, Eleanor Robson, Graham Smith, Larry J. Schaaf, Herta Wolf, Vered Maimon, Anne Secord, June Barrow-Green

Studies in British Art
Publication date:
29 Oct 2013
YC British Art
320 pages: 254 x 178mm
109 color illus.
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William Henry Fox Talbot (1800–1877) was a British pioneer in photography, yet he also embraced the wider preoccupations of the Victorian Age—a time that saw many political, social, intellectual, technical, and industrial changes. His manuscripts, now in the archive of the British Library, reveal the connections and contrasts between his photographic innovations and his investigations into optics, mathematics, botany, archaeology, and classical studies.

Drawing on Talbot’s fascinating letters, diaries, research notebooks, botanical specimens, and photographic prints, distinguished scholars from a range of disciplines, including historians of science, art, and photography, broaden our understanding of Talbot as a Victorian intellectual and a man of science.

Mirjam Brusius is postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Harvard University. Katrina Dean is a university archivist at Melbourne University. Chitra Ramalingam is postdoctoral fellow in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge.

“He was more than an amateur in every field and this book leaves one amazed at the sheer extent of his intellectual pursuits, which in turn serve to contextualise the invention of photography – the achievement for which he is best remembered.”—Charlotte Cory, Country Life

‘’Provides a new authoritative perspective on one of the most important figures in the early history of photography. ..This long overdue contextualisation of Talbot’s photography supplements, and in some ways sets out to challenge, existing art-historical interpretations."—Dana MacFarlane, Oxford Art Journal 

[[Beyond Photography] is an essential movement forward in highlighting just how intertwined the visual, technological, and scientific practices of photography were with the narratives that historians of science have come to associate with the nineteenth century . . . [It] is an essential case study in how to integrate the histories of photography and science."—Geoffrey Belknap, Studies in HIstory and Philosophy of Science