Leaves on a stem thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F , Case XRP, Shelf 589, Box NOT AVAILABLE

Leaves on a stem

ca. 1839 (photographed)
Place of origin

Photogenic drawing of leaves on a stem; purple-red colour.

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Discover more about this object
read William Henry Fox Talbot – an introduction William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877) was a skilled scientist, mathematician, Greek scholar and politician, often rightly described as a polymath. Endearingly, however, he later claimed his most famous invention came about because he was bad at drawing and frustrated by his lack of skill.

Object details

Object type
TitleLeaves on a stem (generic title)
Materials and techniques
Paper negative, photogenic drawing. Not available for issue to the public in the Prints and Drawings Study Room due to light sensitivity. Please contact the Photography Department via our enquiry service for further information.
Brief description
Photograph by William Henry Fox Talbot, 'Leaves on a stem', paper negative - photogenic drawing, ca. 1839
Physical description
Photogenic drawing of leaves on a stem; purple-red colour.
  • Image height: 178mm
  • Image width: 112mm
Gallery label
Cameraless Photography William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877) Leaves on a stem c. 1839 Photogenic drawing negative 17.8 x 11.2 cm Museum no. RPS.59-2017 (RPS No. 025138 / Schaaf 1184) Arranging a flattened plant on the surface of light-sensitized paper, Talbot placed these under a sheet of glass, usually in a wooden frame, and put it in the daylight for a period of around ten to thirty minutes. The emerging result was visible as a negative, with the plant shielding the paper underneath it while the surrounding areas were darkened by solar energy. However, the image would continue to darken as one viewed it under ordinary light. Almost immediately, Talbot discovered that washing the print in a strong salt solution fixed the image. The Royal Photographic Society Collection at the V&A, acquired with the generous assistance of the Heritage Lottery Fund and Art Fund
Credit line
The Royal Photographic Society Collection at the V&A, acquired with the generous assistance of the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Art Fund.
Associated object
PROV.1594-2017 (RPS Group record)
Bibliographic reference
Schaaf, Larry John. The Photographic Art of William Henry Fox Talbot. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2000. ISBN 0691050007.
Other numbers
  • RPS025138 - Royal Photographic Society number
  • 2003-5001/2/23360 - Science Museum Group accession number
  • XRP589 - RPS collection - V&A identifier
Accession number

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Record createdMarch 23, 2017
Record URL
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