|Born: Constance Mundy |
Other: Constance Mundy Talbot
|Dates: ||1811 - 1880|
It is not surprising that Constance Talbot, née Mundy, the wife of the inventor of photography, herself became involved in the new art. Indeed, the only surprise is that she did not become more involved. It was really her mother-in-law, the formidable Lady Elisabeth Feilding, who exercised the most influence over Talbot’s progress in the art: she suggested ideas for Talbot’s photographs, critiqued them, supervised photographic sessions, and promoted her son’s work through her extensive social contacts. But she is not known to have taken any photographs. While Constance Talbot was publicly much less enthusiastic about her husband’s work, she did some photographic printing and made some photographs. Perhaps her most insightful contribution was the concept that eventually led to photographic typesetting. In the autumn of 1843 she set to work with the first few lines of her friend Thomas Moore’s Irish Melodies. She reported in a letter to her husband on December 1, 1843, “I have composed a little frame with the 4 first lines of the ‘Last rose of Summer’ & it is now waiting for brighter weather.” Sometime shortly after that, Constance arranged her cutout letters in front of the camera and produced a negative of the text that is still printable today.
Roger Taylor & Larry J. Schaaf Impressed by Light: British Photographs from Paper Negatives, 1840-1860 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2007)
This biography is courtesy and copyright of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and is included here with permission.
Date last updated: 4 Nov 2012.
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