May 23, 2022

Oxford: Bodleian Libraries Launch Project to Create Online Catalogue Raisonne Of William Henry Fox Talbot’s Photographs

From the Bodleian Libraries (U. of Oxford):

The Bodleian Libraries has launched an ambitious project to create a new web-based research tool that will allow scholars and members of the public to view and search the complete photographic works of British photographic pioneer William Henry Fox Talbot.

This online catalogue raisonné will include images of thousands of photographs and negatives by Talbot and his close circle. It will shed new light on Talbot’s photographic discoveries and will invite academics and the public to help fill in the blanks about mystery images.


William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877) was one of the greatest polymaths of the Victorian age, and is most famous today for being the British ‘founder of photography’. He recognised that negatives, with their ability to make multiple prints on paper, would define the central path of photography right through to the digital age. During his career Talbot and his collaborators created more than 4,500 distinct images. Approximately 25,000 of his original negatives and prints are known to survive worldwide.


Catalogue Raisonné of Talbot’s work will help unlock the enormous artistic, documentary and technical information embodied in these images,’ said Professor Larry J. Schaaf, Director of the Talbot catalogue raisonné at the Bodleian Libraries and also a Visiting Professor of Art History at the University of Oxford.

Catalogues raisonnés are common in the world of art, serving as a detailed academic inventory of an artist’s work. However, nothing of this scale has been attempted for photography. The website, due to go live later in 2015, will be an essential resource for scholars in the history of photography, history of art and the history of science. It will include a great deal of documentary content, such as early images of cities and landscapes that will be of interest in many fields. The images of prints and negatives on the website will be accompanied by notes, annotations and essays with links to relevant publications and other sites. The resource will include the work of Talbot as well as his close circle of family and colleagues who collaborated in his photographic work, including his wife Constance and his mother Lady Elisabeth Feilding.

Read the Complete Announcement

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.