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William Henry Fox Talbot Takes One of the Earliest Photographs of Books

1843 to 1844
A Scene in a Library. 

A Scene in a Library. 


William Henry Fox Talbot, one of the inventors of photography, photographed books in his library during 1843-1844. This was undoubtedly one of the earliest photographs of books. Fox Talbot later published this photograph in The Pencil of Nature

"An exceptional student first at Harrow and later at Cambridge, Talbot was a man of great learning and broad interests. Mathematics, astronomy, physics, botany, chemistry, Egyptology, philology, and the classics were all within the scope of his investigative appetite. The Philosophical Magazine, Miscellanies of Science, Botanische Schriften, Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians, Philological Essays, Poetae Minores Graeci, and Lanzi's Storia pittorica dell'Italia are among the volumes represented in this photograph—truly an intellectual self-portrait. The image appeared as plate 8 in The Pencil of Nature. Paradoxically, A Scene in a Library was taken out of doors, where the light was stronger" (, accessed 10-25-2011).

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