William Sherlock

Portrait of a Woman

13 November 1843
Category: 
In November 1843 the young amateur William Sherlock wrote to the inventor of photography, William Henry Fox Talbot, apologizing for the delay in sending some example portraits: "The weather here is most unfavorable but I enclose three which were taken the last few days." This image is one of those three primitive portraits, taken by a self-taught calotypist "quite unaware of the time usually occupied in taking a portrait never having exchanged a word with anyone acquainted with the art or derived any knowledge upon the subject except from the Edinburgh Review and my own perseverance". The study is probably of his wife, Anne (née Henshaw), the daughter of a music professor, suffering through an uncomfortable exposure time of twenty to twenty-five seconds. Sherlock, a London attorney, had opened discussions with Talbot a year earlier about securing a license to practise calotype portraiture in London.
Title
Portrait of a Woman
Date
13 November 1843
Medium
Photograph
Materials
salted paper print
Dimensions
12.1 x 10.2 cm
Nationality
British
Credit line
Purchased 1973
Accession number
33540