[The Head of Christ from a Painting on Glass]

Henry Fox Talbot1839

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

William Henry Fox Talbot was still experimenting with the negative/positive process in photography when he made this negative of a painting on glass. Because the painting was on a transparent support, Talbot was able to make a direct-copy negative from it. The background of the negative was darkened with ink so that it would appear light when it was printed as a positive. The Getty Museum owns four negatives and two positives of this image. These multiple variants indicate the usefulness of this glass plate in Talbot's experimentation. They also indicate that this experiment was an important step in Talbot's understanding of the possibilities of the negative/positive relationship in photography.

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  • Title: [The Head of Christ from a Painting on Glass]
  • Creator: William Henry Fox Talbot
  • Date: 1839
  • Location Created: England
  • Physical Dimensions: 20.8 x 17.6 cm (8 3/16 x 6 15/16 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Photogenic drawing negative, iodide fixed
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Object Type: Negative
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 84.XM.1002.44
  • Inscription: Secondary Inscription: Inscr. vo. print in pencil: "L6.45 (TAL)" & "MOMA 1979.329".
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Photographs
  • Culture: British
  • Classification: Photographs