The William Henry Fox Talbot Catalogue Raisonné


Object within Schaaf no. 1833

Statuette of the Three Graces

Object details

Image size: h 10.0cm x w 8.0cm

Object Type: Paper Negative-Camera

Physical description: waxed; negative trimmed

Matilda Talbot 1934

Owner: National Science and Media Museum

Object owner number: 1937-2859

Collection: Science Museum Collection

This object is part of Schaaf no. 1833

Statuette of the Three Graces

Keywords: sculpture

Photograph of a statuette copy of the Neoclassical sculpture, "The Three Graces" by Antonio Canova (1757-1822).

Although attributed to Talbot, there is a possibility that these photographs of a singular statuette copy of ‘The Three Graces’ by Canova were taken by Nicolaas Henneman.

The evidence for this comes from a letter Henneman sent Talbot from his establishment in Reading in December 1846, in which he perhaps hastily wrote about his attempts to photograph the sculpture, which might account for the mis-spellings that pepper the missive.

“I have been trying hard to day to get a good negative of the three graces by the new process but cant get any thing under 2 minutes 20 seconds with the Small camera, middle aperture, and the day fine for thiss time of year, so the Porportions you give mee can not be as right as I find them Slower than those I tried or we tried at Laycock.”

There is a possibility that Henneman eventually succeeded to capture good results at Reading. Or, these photographs may be those Henneman referred to in the letter, taken jointly by him with Talbot.

Consider also that the statuette of ‘The Three Graces’ can be seen, set up and ready to have its photograph taken in the right half of the panorama of Henneman’s establishment in Reading. It’s intriguing to note that the same photograph shows Henneman posed with his camera, possibly in the very act of taking a photograph of ‘The Graces’.