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The Pencil of Nature . [Part No. 2]
Longman, Brown, Green & Longmans, London 1845 - (12 x 9 1/2 inches). 7 salt paper prints from calotype negatives, (comprising plates VI-XII), each mounted to card within a ruled border, each with accompanying letterpress leaves, and each plate numbered in ink on the mount. Publisher's Notice to the Reader slip tipped to the first leaf: "The plates of the present work are impressed by the agency of Light alone, without any aid whatever from the artist's pencil." (The images faded, as usual). [With:] An autograph letter signed from Lady Elisabeth Theresa Feilding (William Henry Fox Talbot's mother), to Mrs. Cunliffe, sending the talbotypes, "Pray don't think of returning the Talbotypes the sole motive of their publication was to diffuse a knowledge of the art more generally. You must not call them drawings which misleads, for my son can multiply these solar representations as easily as the original one, by the power of light." Publisher's wrappers, upper wrapper with title within elaborate ornamentation, printed in red and black, expertly rebacked with period calf. Housed in a black morocco box. Provenance: Elizabeth Emma Cunliffe-Offley An individual fascicule from the first commercially published book illustrated with photographs: a milestone in the art of the book. Published in six parts between June 1844 and April 1846, the present second part contained more images than any other fascicule (part I contained 6, and the remaining each contained 3), and was published in January 1845. Furthermore, this part includes among the most iconic images from the work, including The Haystack. The calotypes comprise: [Plate VI:] The Open Door [Plate VII:] Leaf of a Plant [Plate VIII:] A Scene in a Library [Plate IX:] Fac-Simile of an Old Printed Page [Plate X:] The Haystack [Plate XI:] Copy of a Lithographic Print [Plate XII:] The Bridge of Orleans "It is hard to imagine how giant a leap of faith - or naivete - was involved in this ambitious undertaking . Conceptually and artistically, The Pencil of Nature - with its combination of images and text - allowed Talbot to express his faith in the potential of the photographic medium" (Taylor). According to Gernsheim, just 153 copies of the second part were published, though far fewer have survived, and most extant examples bear the same fading as the present images. "The Pencil of Nature is photography's first manifesto - and a most eloquent one at that" (Parr & Badger). Gernsheim, Incunabula of British Photographic Literature 6; Goldschmidt and Naef, The Truthful Lens , 160; Parr & Badger, The Photobook: A History , I:p.22; Taylor, Impressed by Light , pp. 19-21. [Attributes: Signed Copy; Soft Cover]
      [Bookseller: Donald A. Heald Rare Books (ABAA)]
Last Found On: 2015-10-05           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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