The J. Paul Getty Museum

Articles of China

Object Details

Title:

Articles of China

Artist/Maker:

William Henry Fox Talbot (English, 1800 - 1877)

Culture:

British

Places:

Reading, England (Place Created)

Lacock, Wiltshire, England (Place Depicted)

Date:

1844

Medium:

Salted paper print

Object Number:

84.XO.1369.3

Dimensions:

13.4 × 18 cm (5 1/4 × 7 1/16 in.)

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Object Description

In his 1844-46 treatise on photography, The Pencil of Nature, William Henry Fox Talbot observed that “the whole cabinet of a Virtuoso” might be photographed, “the more strange and fantastic the forms . . . , the more advantage in having their pictures given instead of their descriptions. . . . However numerous the objects—however complicated the arrangement—the Camera depicts them all at once.”

Outside Lacock Abbey, temporary shelves, draped in black velvet, supported arrangements of objects relocated from indoors, not unlike a traditional museum exhibit. Talbot created at least two variations on this theme. This image and Articles of Glass on Three Shelves were published in The Pencil of Nature. The Milliner’s Window shows a display of caps and bonnets on the same shelves.

Larry Schaaf, William Henry Fox Talbot, In Focus: Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2002), 78. ©2002 J. Paul Getty Trust.