Facsimiles of Photogenic Drawings G.F.

This group of ‘drawings’ is considered the second recorded use of photography in illustrating a publication following Golding Bird’s reproduction of a photograph in the April 20 issue of The Mirror. "Only a week later, on April 27, The Magazine of Science and School of Arts, another London magazine, featured three "Fac-similes of Photogenic Drawings" on its cover: two botanical specimens – Fool’s Parsley and Grass of Parnassus – and a piece of lace. Although wood engravings created by skill of hand, they approach photography more closely. For the very wooden block used for the printing plate was itself sensitized, just as Bird’s paper had been sensitized, and the engraver followed with his burin the photographic image itself, rather than the artist’s drawing. The photogenic drawings were contributed to the magazine by a reader who signed himself "G.F." He commented, in his covering letter published in the same issue: "I send you three drawings of this new art, which were impressed at once on box-wood, and therefore are fit for the graver, without any other preparation. I flatter myself that this process may be useful to carvers and wood engravers, not only to those who cut the fine objects of artistical design, but still more to those who cut patterns and blocks for lace, muslin, calico-printing, paper-hanging, &c., as by this simple means the errors, expense, and time of the draughtsman may be wholly saved, and in a minute or two the most elaborate picture or design, or the most complicated machinery, be delineated with the utmost truth and clearness." [1]

Reproduced / Exhibited

Wakeman, Geoffrey. Victorian Book Illustration: The Technical Revolution. Newton Abbot: David Charles, 1973. plate 23.

Sheehan, Tanya, and Andrés M. Zervigón. Photography and Its Origins. New York, N.Y: Routledge, 2015. Figure 5.2.

Howe, Kathleen S. Intersections: Lithography, Photography, and the Traditions of Printmaking. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1998. no. 5.

Marien, Mary W. Photography: A Cultural History. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: SunSoft Press, 2002. p. 21.

Schaff, ‘Relevations and Representations’ https://talbot.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/2016/05/27/revelations-representations/


[1] Eastman House – Image volume 11/2, 1962

Schaff, ‘Relevations and Representations’ https://talbot.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/2016/05/27/revelations-representations/