A Scene in a Library

Artist: William Henry Fox Talbot (British, Dorset 1800–1877 Lacock)

Date: before March 22, 1844

Medium: Salted paper print from paper negative

Dimensions: Image: 13.3 x 18 cm (5 1/4 x 7 1/16 in. )

Classification: Photographs

Credit Line: Gilman Collection, Gift of The Howard Gilman Foundation, 2005

Accession Number: 2005.100.172


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.