The Open Door Talbot, William Henry Fox  (British, 1800-1877)

“The little work now presented to the Public is the very first attempt to publish a series of plates or pictures wholly executed by the new art of Photogenic Drawing, without any aid whatever from the artist’s pencil. The term “Photography” is now so well known, that an explanation of it is perhaps superfluous. It may suffice, then, to say, that the plates of this work have been obtained by the mere action of Light upon sensitive paper. They have been formed or depicted by optical and chemical means alone. . . . They differ in all respects, and as widely as possible, in their origin, from plates of the ordinary kind, which owe their existence to the united skill of the Artist and the Engraver.” Taylor 23

Describing this beautiful photograph in his pioneering publication, The Pencil of Nature, Talbot claims we have sufficient authority in the Dutch school of art, for taking as subjects of representation scenes of daily and familiar occurrence. A painter’s eye will often be arrested where ordinary people see nothing remarkable. A casual gleam of sunshine, or a shadow thrown across his path, a time-withered oak, or a moss-covered.

This portfolio contains sixteen hand-pulled dust-grain photogravures of rare masterpieces from Britain’s greatest photographers, published in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The portfolio features important works by nineteenth-century masters of the medium such as Julia Margaret Cameron, Frederick H. Evans, Lady Hawarden, David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson, Oscar G. Rejlander, Henry Peach Robinson, William Henry Fox Talbot, and Benjamin Brecknell Turner. Wherever possible, the plates have been made from the photographer’s original negatives, many of which were unavailable until production of this portfolio. Each image is printed on cotton rag, mold-made papers, with inks created especially for this project.

Reproduced / Exhibited

Malcolm R. Daniel, and Florian Rodari. Graver La Lumière: L’héliogravure D’alfred Stieglitz À Nos Jours Ou La Reconquête D’un Instrument Perdu. Vevey, Suisse: Fondation William Cuendet & Atelier de Saint-Prex, 2002. p. 22


Taylor R Schaaf LJ Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York N.Y.) Yale University Press National Gallery of Art (U.S.). Impressed by Light : British Photographs from Paper Negatives 1840-1860. New York Washington New Haven: Metropolitan Museum of Art ; National Gallery of Art ; Yale University Press; 2007.