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Carriages and Parisian Townhouses
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William Henry Fox Talbot
British, Paris, May 1843
Salt print from a calotype negative
6 5/8 x 6 13/16 in.
84.XM.478.6

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In May 1843 William Henry Fox Talbot went to Paris with his assistant Nicolaas Henneman. A year later, with Talbot's support, Henneman established the first photographic printing firm in Reading, England. They traveled to France to negotiate the licensing rights for Talbot's calotype process and to instruct the licensee in its use. This was Talbot's first trip outside of England with his camera, and he was undoubtedly eager to put it to good use.

This view outside of an elegant Parisian townhouse shows an active scene. The carriage driver and horses wait curbside, poised to carry passengers to their destination, and the line of arriving and departing carriages rolling across the bottom of the picture suggests a busy boulevard. The calotype's clarity of detail is superb, rivaling that of the daguerreotype, France's homegrown photographic medium and the calotype's chief competition.