William Henry Fox Talbot

1800 - 1877

Connections with

Edinburgh

England and Scotland

Talbot connection with Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire is well known.  His family had lived there since the sixteenth century.  He carried out his early photographic experiments there, and the building now houses a museum dedicated to his work.

However I was surprised to discover that Talbot lived for many years in Edinburgh.  He was one of the Honorary Member of Edinburgh Photographic Society.

Talbot's Photography in Scotland

Talbot visited Edinburgh in the early 1840s. 

His book, Sun Pictures of Scotland, a tribute to the work of Burns, was published in 1845.  It contained twenty-three of Talbot's Calotypes of Scotland, including photographs of the Scott Monument and  George Heriotís Hospital. 

Photograph of Talbot by Moffat

One of the photographs of Talbot that is most frequently reproduced was taken in John Moffat's studio in Edinburgh in May 1864.  It shows Talbot seated beside a camera and lens, holding the lens.  Here is an engraving based on this photograph.

[I will add a copy of this photograph to the site if I can get copyright permission to do so.

 

Talbotís Edinburgh Addresses

From the mid-1850s, Talbot spent much of his time in Edinburgh.  Letters have been found addressed to or from Talbot in Edinburgh at the following addresses:

1855

   4 Athol Crescent

1856

   4,5 Athol Crescent, 
    11 Moray Place

1857

   4 Athol Crescent

1858

   4 Athol Crescent

1859

 17 Coates Place

1860

   9 Coates Crescent, 

 11 Moray Place

1861

   9 Coates Crescent, 

 11 Moray Place,  

     Millburn Tower

1862

      Millburn Tower

1863

      Millburn Tower, 

   8 Rutland Square, 

 11 Great Stuart Street

 13 Great Stuart Street

1864

    8 Rutland Square, 

  13 Great Stuart Street

1865-7

  13 Great Stuart Street

 [Source:  Larry J Schaaf: Project Director;
 The Correspondence of William Henry Fox Talbot, University of Glasgow.]

The Post Office Edinburgh & Leith Directories show Talbot to have resided at 13 Great Stuart Street until 1871.  In the 1871 census, he was described as landowner in England.  He was one of thirteen people at 13 Great Stuart Street.  The others were his wife, two unmarried daughters, a visitor, a butler, a footman, a ladyís maid, a cook, a kitchen maid, two upper housemaids and a lower housemaid.

Talbot maintained some interest in photography whilst in Edinburgh, particularly doing research into photoglyphic engraving.  The Science Museum has a negative of the Observatory on Calton Hill taken by Talbot around 1870.  The title is not very pretentious:  -  Man in Front of Wall & Building

For further details of Talbot's photography, please see these pages on early photographic processes:  Photogenic Drawing and Calotype

 

 

William Henry Fox Talbot

Discovery of Photography

Life in England

Connections with Edinbrugh

Correspondence

Photos, Sketches and Engravings

Pencil of Nature

 

 

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