Re: May 1839 photographic (?) image question OT

From: Phillip Murphy ^lt;>
Date: 03/13/05-02:28:10 PM Z
Message-id: <>

Hello John,

Actually Daguerre and Niepce in France had achieved negatives many years earlier

than Talbot in England. Niepce was making what he called "retinas" at least as
as 1816.

I believe what you have is an example of Nature Printing which was the
precursor of the Woodburytype process. Have you spoken with anyone at the
George Eastman House about the image?

I am including my response from a previous post you made in 2003 :

       Re: first illustration of a photograph? OT
       Date: Sat, 22 Nov 2003 11:20:28 -0600
      From: Phillip Murphy <>

Generally credited as the first photographically illustrated book is Anna
Atkins' "British Algae: Cyanotype
Impressions (1843-53)". Prior to that, there were various Lithographs published
in 1839 from
Daguerreotype plates. Etchings from Daguerreotype plates were also used in 1839
and later.
The largest publication being Nicolas Lerebour's "Excursions daguerriennes"
(1840-1844). Another was Hector Horeau's "Panorama d'Egypte et de Nubie" (1841)

Joseph Niepce made prints using a unique type of photo-lithography as early as

Perhaps what you have is a form of Nature Printing. This practice was utilized
for publication
as far back as the early 1700's. Nature Printing evolved into an electro-typing
method in 1837.
Interestingly, an early form of Nature Printing led to the development of the
Woodburytype in the


"John F. Ptak" wrote:

> Hello to the group. New member here and first time post. My question is in
regards to an article by Golding Bird in "The Mirrour" (London) beginning April
20, 1839 and continued in 5 more parts through June 1839. It is a very early
discussion of Daguerre's process--the quirky bit is that on the front cover of
the first article there is an image of a "photo-genic drawing" (a botanical
negative)made by Bird. Two questions: does anyone know of the first time a
photograph is "illustrated" (not photographically)in a mass/trade publication?
(It is an odd question in itself because it *is* an engraving/litho of a photo
which may mean nothing in itself...) This has not been an easy matter to
settle. Secondly, I wonder if it is possible if the "photo-genic" image is
*not* a lithograph as I believe but some sort of photographic process? This
image is larger than any other image that appears in this journal for 20 years
(I have 45 years worth), and the ink is not only (unique to!
> this publication) brown but rather thick, easily osmosed to the rear of the
> There are all sorts of refs to the first image of a human face, the first of
the moon, etc, in a long line of photographic firsts, but none refer to a simple
first illustration of a photographic image.
> Does this sound familiar to anyone?
> Many thanks for this indulgence.
> Best,
> John Ptak
> --
> John Ptak
> Longstreet
> Antiquarian Maps and Prints
> 8 Biltmore Avenue
> Asheville, NC USA 28801
> 828.254.0081
> JF Ptak Science Books
> 255 Cumberland Avenue
> Asheville, North Carolina USA
> 28801
> p. 828.254.0081 f. 202.318.3244
> Specializing in iconic and obscure works in the history of science, as well as
unusual and uncommon antique maps and prints.
> --

Richard wrote:

> In Britain, Talbot made the earliest known surviving photographic negative
> on paper in the late summer of 1835, a small photogenic drawing of the oriel
> window in the south gallery of his home, Lacock Abbey: this rare item is now
> in the photographic collection of the Science Museum at the National Museum
> of Photography, Film and Television at Bradford.
> Before this he had been experimenting with photogenic drawings: by coating
> drawing paper with salt solution and after it dried, adding a solution of
> silver nitrate, and by placing a leaf, or fern, or a piece of lace, on the
> paper's surface and exposing it to the sun, he obtained an image.
> Photogenic drawing of a fern leaf, c.1835-40
> Here is the information you require and follow it up with a web search under
> Fox-Talbot
> Richard
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: John Ptak []
> > Sent: 12 March 2005 20:31
> > To:
> > Subject: May 1839 photographic (?) image question
> >
> > Hello all.
> >
> >
> >
> > I've got a question on very early photographic practices for May 1839--I
> > believe that I've never posted this question to this group before.
> > Perhaps
> > someone with the knowledge for the earliest photographic processes might
> > have an insight?
> >
> >
> >
> > The image appears in the May 15, 1839 issue of the English "The Mirrour",
> > the cover illustration of the sixth of six articles by Golding Bird
> > entitled
> > A Treatise on Photogenic Drawing. The image is labeled "A fac-simile of a
> > photogenic drawing" and is the image of a fern.
> >
> > Now I've had a number of very early photographic items but this one is
> > particularly knotty. At first glance it seems a simple woodcut-it is to
> > my
> > eye not quite correct for a woodcut, with too much bleed-through to the
> > back
> > of the page, too heavy, too rich a color. This does not eliminate it as a
> > woodcut, but does make it more problematic to me.
> >
> > The problem to me is that I can't identify it as a Talbot process or
> > shadowgraph. This is only a few months into Daguerre and things got busy
> > quite quickly, so I hesitate to dismiss this as "just" a woodcut.
> >
> >
> >
> > If it is just a woodcut, then why even bother with the illustration? A
> > woodcut of a photograph depicting a photogenic drawing? It is a surreal
> > photography first, then, if it is a woodcut-the first non-photographic
> > illustration of a photograph.
> >
> >
> >
> > Incidentally, this article was reproduced in the Journal of the Franklin
> > Institute in September 1839 as "Observations on the application of
> > Heliographic or Photogenic Drawing to Botanical Purposes; with an account
> > of
> > an economic mode of preparing the Paper..."
> >
> >
> >
> > Perhaps it is just a woodcut, but I'd really like to make positively sure
> > that it is not a photographic process.
> >
> >
> >
> > Many thanks for your thoughts,
> >
> >
> >
> > John Ptak
> >
> >
> >
> > ---
> > [This E-mail has been scanned for viruses but it is your responsibility
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> >
> ---
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Received on Sun Mar 13 14:29:03 2005

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