Although this photograph of an archaic Assyrian cuneiform tablet was taken by Roger Fenton (1819-1869) and not by Talbot, or one of his close circle, it is one of a series which was owned by Talbot and used by him in his attempts to decipher what was then a lost language.
Talbot acquired a set of Fenton's photographs of the museum's Assyrian cuneiform tablets between 1863 and 1864. Talbot's use of these photographs to attempt to decipher the lost Assyrian language is clear as he made notes relating to the meaning of the Assyrian tablets directly onto the photographs, sometimes both front and back. This not only illustrates Talbot's interest in linguistics, but also illustrates a role Talbot anticipated for photography, which was the ease of sharing knowledge and information between academics without having to rely on the individual's skill as a draughstman.
Talbot noted that this Assyrian cuneiform clay table had been photographed upside down.