Ferns. Fac-Simile of a Photogenic Drawing (Page from The Mirror, vol. 33, no. 945 (20 April,1839)).

After Golding Bird (English, 1814–1854), In the manner of William Henry Fox Talbot (English, 1800–1877), Produced by James Stack Lauder (English, 1853–1923)


Image: 15.1 x 11.2 cm (5 15/16 x 4 7/16 in.) Sheet: 22.3 x 14.2 cm (8 3/4 x 5 9/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wood engraving

Not On View


Photography, Prints and Drawings


Photographs / Prints

Page from The Mirror, vol. 33, no. 945 (20 April,1839).

This is considered the first photographic image published. A boxwood block was chemically prepared in the manner of Talbot’s preparation of paper. Bird’s photogenic drawing of ferns was laid on the block, and exposed to light, leaving its image on the surface. A wood engraver then cut the “photogenic drawing”, which was then printed directly from the block in the usual manner in a rich reddish brown color that matched the color of Talbot’s first salt print photograms. The facsimile was accompanied by a multi-part article, “A Treatise on Photogenic Drawing”, reprinted from the Magazine of Natural History.

Credit Line

Source unidentified