Photography campaigners close to saving Fox Talbot archive


A campaign launched by Oxford University’s Bodleian Libraries to acquire a valuable archive of images by photography pioneer Fox Talbot has been thrown a £200,000 lifeline. Campaigners want to ‘save’ the archive of images, which has been transferred to a New York dealer with an eye to selling it on the open market. If the campaign is successful, the historic collection will remain in the UK. The massive £200,000 (~$300,000) donation takes the campaign to within £375,000 of its target of £2.25 million.

Credit: Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford

According to Fund director Stephen Deuchar, ‘the collection of material is of unparalleled importance on shedding light on both his life and his pioneering work’.

The appeal to save the archive – which according to Oxford University is the ‘only significant Talbot collection remaining in private hands’, has turned up more than just donations of money – it has also lead to the discovery of 42 previously unknown works. The ‘precious and fragile photographs’ are described as ‘photogenic drawings’ which will enrich the archive of prints and manuscripts from one of the world’s first photographers. 

 Credit: Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford

Among those supporting the project are the artist David Hockney, renowned photographer Martin Parr, and Michael Pritchard, president of the Royal Photographic Society.



No disrespect intented to the legacy of Fox Talbot, but I can’t help thinking 2.25 million pounds could do a lot of good elsewhere in the UK at a time of significant spending cuts and economic pain for many families

I wonder what Fox Talbot himself would think of this


Why on EARTH does it cost $3M to save the collection? Does it need its own museum?


Because that is what people outside of the UK are likely to be willing to pay to buy it.


Good news. Did a lot of research on Fox Talbot a few decades ago. This is a valuable part of our heritage.

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