The Open Door

Object Details


The Open Door


William Henry Fox Talbot (English, 1800 - 1877)




Lacock, Wiltshire, England, Europe (Place created)


late April 1844


Salted paper print from a Calotype negative


14.9 × 16.8 cm (5 7/8 × 6 5/8 in.)

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This photograph was the sixth plate in William Henry Fox Talbot's landmark 1844 publication The Pencil of Nature. Aligning his work with the tradition of genre painting, he wrote: "We have sufficient authority in the Dutch school of art, for taking as subjects of representation scenes of daily and familiar occurrence." Here Talbot turned his camera from the vaulted splendors of his home, Lacock Abbey, which he photographed extensively, to the simple door of the stable and the resting tool of the worker.

Talbot exhibited and sold variants of this image with the titles The Stable Doorand Stable Yard in Talbot-type. The diagonally clipped corners of this print suggest that it may have been removed from an album.

Related Works
Experimental Photography: Discovery and Invention (January 17 to April 2, 1989)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), January 17 to April 2, 1989