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Bust of Patroclus

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

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  • A work made of salted paper print.


August 9, 1843


William Henry Fox Talbot
English, 1800–1877

About this artwork

Like many educated and wealthy Victorians, Talbot possessed a strong grounding in the classics. This plaster cast of Patroclus, the loyal defender of Achilles—made from a marble original in the British Museum—was a favorite subject for Talbot. Besides kindly remaining still for lengthy exposures, the sculpture also offered broad modulations of light and shadow that the relatively insensitive material of the paper print could capture well in the camera. Between 1839 and 1843, Talbot made at least 47 separate images of Patroclus alone, plus several others in which the bust was an element. He also included a photograph of Patroclus in his important 1844 publication, The Pencil of Nature, a compendium of Talbot’s undertakings in photography that is also one of the earliest photo-illustrated books.


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Photography and Media


William Henry Fox Talbot


Bust of Patroclus


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


Salted paper print


Image: 14.9 × 14.5 cm (5 7/8 × 5 3/4 in.); Paper: 23.2 × 18.9 cm (9 3/16 × 7 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Edward E. Ayer Endowment in memory of Charles L. Hutchinson

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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