Englishman William Henry Fox Talbot revealed a rival photographic process just weeks after Daguerre’s announcement in 1839. Unlike the daguerreotype—a one-of-a-kind object distinguished by its clarity and detail—Talbot’s process produced a paper negative that could be used to print multiple positive photographs, each with a soft, atmospheric character. Just three years after the invention of his process, Talbot was not merely taking documentary images of the world, but creating images with clear artistry. With dark, entwined tree limbs that resemble the fine lines of a drawing, Winter Trees, Reflected in a Pond is graphic, bold, and nearly abstract. In this complex picture, the subject matter and composition reveal the striking artistic possibilities of Talbot’s process.

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William Henry Fox Talbot, British, 1800–1877
Winter Trees, Reflected in a Pond
Salted paper print from paper negative
Image: 6 1/2 × 7 9/16 in. (16.5 × 19.2 cm) Sheet: 7 3/4 × 9 7/8 in. (19.7 × 25.1 cm)
Credit Line

Museum purchase funded by the Brown Foundation Accessions Endowment Fund, The Manfred Heiting Collection

Current Location
Not on view
Accession Number

Lacock Abbey; [Robert Hershkowitz Ltd., Sussex, England]; purchased by Manfred Heiting, May 2, 1989; purchased by MFAH, 2004.