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

The first publication of a large example of Talbot’s photoglyphic engraving process (photogravure).

we do not think we are premature in announcing, that these gentlemen [Clouzard and Soulier] are so interested in this new invention that they are preparing some large views of Paris, expressly for the purpose of being engraved in this manner; and we have the pleasure of stating, that as soon as these large views are ready engraved, our readers will have another opportunity of judging for themselves of the progress which this beautiful and wonderful art is making. [1]

Talbot’s large photoglyph print of the Tuilleries included in this issue of Crooke’s
The Photographic News [Vol. III, No. 54 – September 16, 1859] was an extension of the enthusiasm generated from one year earlier when a series of small Talbot photoglyphs were included in the same publication. The 1858 examples were small because Talbot only had access to Clouzard and Soulier’s stereo positives. The larger positive for this large plate was created specifically for Tablot by Clouzard and Soulier.

There is some disagreement among historians regarding just when the newly discovered ‘acierge’ (steel facing) process was used for the Photographic Times Talbot plates. Originally it was believed that small tick marks in the corner of each small plate represented that when the plates wore out, they were replaced by new plates of the same image. David Hanson, however, digitally aligning prints with consecutive tic marks, confirmed that they line up perfectly as they are added, implying that indeed the 1858 plates were not replaced with new plates. The tic marks could have represented every hundred prints, or possibly every time they were re-steel faced (if they were steel faced).

I have consulted with M Brooker about the copper plate of the Tuileries and he gives it as decidedly his opinion that the plate would print 6000 or in fact any number of good impressions provided the precaution were taken of resteeling after each 1000 proofs were pulled. In this way there would be no danger of a break down, and perhaps if the proofs from the new plates were found not to equal the old copper one, you will not object to our trying with this one provided we engage to issue only first rate copies. As this note implies, the large Tuileries plate was steel faced and only a single plate was used in the production. The Tuileries was bound in each copy of the 16 September 1859 issue, printed as large as the journal format would allow. [2]

The fidelity of fine detail in this print can be examined under 15X magnification. An extraordinary feat at the time.

The brilliant success which has attended the endeavors of our distinguished countryman, Mr. H. Fox Talbot, to solve the problem of the conversion of photographic pictures into engraved plates, makes the present time a new epoch in the history of the art. William Crookes

Reproduced / Exhibited

Rijksmuseum Object number RP-F-F25602-A

Sun Pictures, Catalog Number 12, Hans Kraus, Jr. #34, 2003

Huellas de Luz, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, 2001, pg 314

Crawford, William. The Keepers of Light. Dobbs Ferry: Morgan and Morgan, 1979. fig. 195

Nineteenth Century Photographs at the University of New Mexico Art Museum, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, 1989, pg 110

Brusius, Mirjam, Katrina Dean, and Chitra Ramalingam. William Henry Fox Talbot: Beyond Photography. New Haven: Yale Center for British Art, 2013. no. 68.

Schaaf, Larry J, and Talbot. Sun Pictures, Talbot and Photogravure. New York: Hans P. Kraus, Jr., Inc, 2003. no. 34.

Hanson, David A. Checklist of Photomechanical Processes and Printing, 1825-1910. , 2017. p. 131.

De Andere Fotografie de Geschiedenis van de Fotomechanische Reproductie in de Negentiende Eeuw: tentoonstelling in het Zeeuws Museum Middelburg 1989 (The Other

Photography the History of Photomechanical Reproduction in the Nineteenth Century: Exhibition in the Zeeuws Museum Middelburg 1989) Exhibited chk. 10

Rudolf Skopec, Photographie Im Wandel der Zeiten, Letteren & Kunst, Amsterdam, pg 114

Parallel Processes – Striking Imafes, The Drapkin Collection, Clearwater, 2007 pl 1

Gernsheim Collection, Harry Ransom Center


[1] The Photographic News Vol. I no 10 1859

[2] Schaaf, Larry J, and Talbot. Sun Pictures, Talbot and Photogravure: Text by Larry Schaaf, Catalogue Twelve, the Exhibition Will Be on View at Hans P. Krauss, Jr., Inc. October 9 – November 21, 2003. New York: Hans P. Kraus, Jr., Inc, 2003 p. 40, 48

For correspondence between Talbot and Crookes see the "Correspondence of William Henry Fox Talbot" Web site (De Montfort University, Leicester/University of Glasgow), (consulted Oct. 18, 2011), especially Crookes to Talbot, Sept. 17, Oct. 29 and Nov. 26, 1858; Talbot to Crookes, Oct. 23, 1858.