'Founder of photography' archive secured for Oxford

The personal archive of William Henry Fox Talbot, a Victorian polymath who invented pioneering photographic techniques, has been secured by the Bodleian Library following an Art Fund grant.

An early photograph from the William Henry Fox Talbot archive Bodleian Libraries

An early photograph from the William Henry Fox Talbot archive

The archive includes many early photographs, including one made by Talbot's wife Constance, which may be the earliest image ever taken by a woman. Other elements of the archive include original manuscripts, family diaries and correspondence. 

A £2.25m fundraising appeal was launched by the Bodleian in late 2012, attracting a £200,000 Art Fund grant. Significant grants from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF), private individuals and charitable trusts helped to take the tally to £1.9m, and a recent legacy donation allowed the Bodleian Libraries to reach its final target.

Richard Ovenden, Bodley’s Librarian, said: 'We are so pleased to have reached our fundraising target and are at last able to secure the Fox Talbot archive. We are extremely grateful for all the donations we received, from the grants awarded by the Art Fund and the NHMF to all the individual donations and for the unwavering support we’ve had in our campaign.

'We look forward to making this fascinating and important resource available to scholars, students and the photographic community.'

The Bodleian plans to run a series of public events to support access to the archive, including a major exhibition in 2017. Highlights from the archive will feature in the opening exhibition for the Weston Library and in a number of smaller displays.

Venue details

Bodleian Library Broad Street Oxfordshire OX1 3BG 01865 277 627 www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk

Entry details

Free to all

Mon – Fri, 9am – 5pm (Sat until 4.30pm, Sun from 11am)

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