This photograph is from an album of 31 prints assembled by William Spencer, 6th Duke of Devonshire circa 1845. The album is of the kind commercially made to be used as a commonplace book, in which poetic texts or journals might be written and drawings made or inserted.

There have been several rival claims to the invention of photography by Nicéphore de Niepce, Louis Daguerre and Fox Talbot. Although this is a debate that is unlikely to be settled, Fox Talbot's improved method of producing photo-sensitive paper by coating it with silver iodide or nitrate, exposing it and developing the image with gallic acid, was the seed from which all subsequent photographic methods have grown.

Even the French, who were supporters of Niepce and Daguerre and initially sceptical, awarded him the gold medal at the 1867 Paris Exposition. In recent times, the length and extent of his researches have become better known, and this volume can be seen as part of the slow process by which they were diffused.

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