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Mousetrap camera

Camera
ca. 1835 (made)
Place Of Origin

Talbot was the British inventor of photography. In 1834 he discovered how to make and fix images through the action of light and chemistry on paper. These ‘negatives’ could be used to make multiple prints. This revolutionised image making.

Talbot excelled in many fields, including mathematics, optics, botany and chemistry. However, it was his inability to master drawing outdoors that prompted him to experiment with capturing images inside a camera. He published his photographic discoveries and ideas, illustrated with original photographs, in his book The Pencil of Nature. Talbot patented his negative photographic process, which he called the ‘calotype’, in 1841. Later, he pioneered photographic engraving – printing photographs in ink. His processes became the basis of virtually all subsequent photography.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Additional TitleTalbot camera no.3 (generic title)
Materials and Techniques
Brief Description
'Mousetrap' camera, owned by William Henry Fox Talbot. Wooden construction with single lens in a metal housing in the front panel, 1835-1839
Physical Description
'Mousetrap' camera, wooden construction with single lens in a metal housing in the front panel. No back to the camera and side panels are slghtly loose, with a small piece missing from one of the side panels at the top rear corner.
Dimensions
  • Whole object height: 73mm
  • Whole object width: 58mm
  • Whole object depth: 99mm
  • Internal body height: 65mm
  • Internal body width: 48mm
Gallery Label
Photography Centre 2018-20: William Henry Fox Talbot (1800–77) Talbot was the British inventor of photography. In 1834 he discovered how to make and fix images through the action of light and chemistry on paper. These ‘negatives’ could be used to make multiple prints. This revolutionised image making. Talbot excelled in many fields, including mathematics, optics, botany and chemistry. However, it was his inability to master drawing outdoors that prompted him to experiment with capturing images inside a camera. He published his photographic discoveries and ideas, illustrated with original photographs, in his book The Pencil of Nature. Talbot patented his negative photographic process, which he called the ‘calotype’, in 1841. Later, he pioneered photographic engraving – printing photographs in ink. His processes became the basis of virtually all subsequent photography. You can see how calotypes are made in the ‘Dark Tent’ film room in Room 99. 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.
Summary
Talbot was the British inventor of photography. In 1834 he discovered how to make and fix images through the action of light and chemistry on paper. These ‘negatives’ could be used to make multiple prints. This revolutionised image making.



Talbot excelled in many fields, including mathematics, optics, botany and chemistry. However, it was his inability to master drawing outdoors that prompted him to experiment with capturing images inside a camera. He published his photographic discoveries and ideas, illustrated with original photographs, in his book The Pencil of Nature. Talbot patented his negative photographic process, which he called the ‘calotype’, in 1841. Later, he pioneered photographic engraving – printing photographs in ink. His processes became the basis of virtually all subsequent photography.
Other Numbers
  • 4151 - Royal Photographic Society number
  • 1928-676 - Science Museum Group accession number
Collection
Accession Number
RPS.3048-2017

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record createdDecember 22, 2017
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