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Science and Media Museum

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A major exhibition on William Henry Fox Talbot, polymath and pioneer of Victorian photography, Dawn of the Photograph showcased one of the world’s most comprehensive and important collections of his work, including original prints from his seminal publication 'The Pencil of Nature'.


It frequently happens moreover—and this is one of the charms of photography—that the operator himself discovers on examination, perhaps long afterwards, that he has depicted many things he had no notion of at the time.

—William Henry Fox Talbot, 'The Pencil of Nature', 1844

In the 19th century, as the industrial revolution boomed, Fox Talbot revolutionised culture and communications by inventing the negative-positive process, a technique that formed the basis of photography around the world for over 150 years and immortalised him as father of the photograph.

Talbot’s revolutionary technology, techniques and practices had a huge influence on his contemporary practitioners, including Anna Atkins, Hill and Adamson, and Calvert Jones.

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William Henry Fox Talbot: Dawn of the Photograph