Skip to Content
Closed today, next open tomorrow. Closed today, next open tomorrow.

The Chess Players

A work made of salted paper print.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

Image actions

  • A work made of salted paper print.


c. 1843/47


William Henry Fox Talbot
English, 1800–1877

About this artwork

The negative-positive process created by William Henry Fox Talbot, and the possibilities for reproduction that it introduced, dominated photography until the digital age. Talbot’s initial experiments show both his interest in science (as he worked to refine his process) and his artistic aspirations. Scholars have confirmed that Talbot took 10 or more views of chess players, yet this one—likely of noted photographer Antoine Claudet and Talbot’s assistant Nicolaas Henneman—may not be his. This print and other variants of the same scene are unsigned, and on a different paper from Talbot’s normal stock. Recent scholarship posits that the images might have been made in Claudet’s studio before ending up in Henneman’s possession; this print could have entered Talbot’s holdings when Henneman gave him prints as payment toward a debt.


Currently Off View


Photography and Media


William Henry Fox Talbot


The Chess Players


England (Artist's nationality)


Made 1838–1852


Salted paper print


19.9 × 15 cm

Credit Line

Purchased with funds provided by Mr. and Mrs. Everett Kovler

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.

Learn more.

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions