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.
Currently Off View
- William Henry Fox Talbot
- Bust of Patroclus
- Salted paper print
- 14.9 × 14.5 cm (image); 23.2 × 18.9 cm (paper)
- Edward E. Ayer Endowment in memory of Charles L. Hutchinson