William Henry Fox Talbot's

Printing Establishment

Talbot's Printing Establishment at Reading


Talbot's Printing Establishment at Reading, photographed around 1846

  Reproduced from the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television collection,
by courtesy of the Science and Society Picture Library.   Click here for link to web site.


Talbot's Printing Establishment

Talbot's printing establishment was set up in Reading, about 40 miles west of London, in 1844, to enable him to make large quantities of salt prints.  These were required for his book, The Pencil of Nature, which was the first book to be illustrated with photographs, these being tipped into copies of the book by hand.

The book was illustrated with 24 salt prints to the potential of photography.  About 200 copies of this book were produced, with the salt prints tipped in to each by hand.

The picture above is made up of two salt prints placed side by side to form a panoramic image.  (I have reproduced the two pictures side by side and made no attempt to blend the join between them.)

This panoramic view includes:

CENTRE:  Talbot is operating the large camera.

RIGHT:  Nicolaas Henneman (1813-1898), Talbot's former valet, is photographing a sculpture of The Three Graces.

LEFT:  An engraving is being photographed on the left of the picture.

CENTRE-RIGHT:  The printing frames hold negatives and paper that is being 'printed out' by sunlight.

FAR RIGHT:  The instrument is a focimeter, a device to assist in focusing.

Acknowledgement:  Details of the photograph above are taken from 'Photography: Processes, Conservation and Preservation', a Special Exhibition held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York in 2001.



William Henry Fox Talbot

Discovery of Photography

Life in England

Connections with Edinbrugh


Photos, Sketches and Engravings

Pencil of Nature