The Chess Players

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

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  • A work made of salted paper print.

Date:

c. 1843/47

Artist:

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.

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Photography

Artist

William Henry Fox Talbot

Title

The Chess Players

Origin

England

Date

1838–1852

Medium

Salted paper print

Dimensions

19.9 × 15 cm

Credit Line

Restricted gift of Mr. and Mrs. Everett Kovler

Reference Number

1967.158

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 .

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