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Articles of China

A work made of salted paper print.
Public Domain

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  • A work made of salted paper print.




William Henry Fox Talbot
English, 1800-1877

About this artwork

One of the inventors of photography, William Henry Fox Talbot also produced the first commercially published book to feature photographic illustrations. The Pencil of Nature, issued in six volumes between 1844 and 1846, included Articles of China as plate three of the first volume. Talbot used this image to extol the practical virtues of the new art, claiming that “the whole cabinet of a Virtuoso and collector of old China might be depicted on paper in little more time than it would take him to make a written inventory describing it in the usual way.” Moreover, he argued presciently, if a thief should take the treasures, such an image could provide a new kind of evidentiary record in court.


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Photography and Media


William Henry Fox Talbot


Articles of China


England (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1843–1844


Salted paper print


Image: 13.7 × 18.2 cm (5 7/16 × 7 3/16 in.); Paper: 18.7 × 22.4 cm (7 3/8 × 8 5/8 in.)

Credit Line

The Mary and Leigh Block Endowment Fund

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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