Trivium Art History
Mediums

Calotype

Another loser in the race to democratize photography

The calotype is one of a handful of early photographic methods that were invented around the same time. Calotypes were sometimes called 'talbotypes' after their inventor, William Henry Fox Talbot, who developed the process in 1841 by coating paper with silver iodide—though Talbot may have preferred the more poetic term, from the Greek καλός (kalos), "beautiful", and τύπος (tupos), "impression." Calotypes take a long time to create, usually requiring an exposure of over an hour, which is probably why most calotype images are almost like still lives, more likely to feature plants or objects than faces. After a bloom of popularity, calotypes were unable to beat out their competition, the daguerreotype, most likely because Talbot copyrighted his invention, and Louis Daguerre did not, allowing his technology to spread more quickly.

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The Bertoloni Album

The Bertoloni Album

William Henry Fox Talbot1839
Buckler Fern

Buckler Fern

William Henry Fox Talbot1839
The Oriel Window, South Gallery, Lacock Abbey

The Oriel Window, South Gallery, Lacock Abbey

William Henry Fox Talbot1835-1839
Detail of the Cloisters at Lacock Abbey

Detail of the Cloisters at Lacock Abbey

William Henry Fox Talbot1840
Bust of Patroclus

Bust of Patroclus

William Henry Fox Talbot1843

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