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A photogenic drawing** that was assumed to

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 18, 2008

A photogenic drawing** that was assumed to have been made in the late 1830s may have actually been created 40 years earlier, making it one of the oldest photographic prints in existence.

Like the lost plays of Aeschylus that were written about but did not survive themselves, no known examples of the work of Wedgwood and his circle have ever been found. But Dr. Schaaf, in looking deeper into the leaf image, realized that these legendary lost images had something else in common: their creators were all part of the close social circle of the family of Henry Bright.

“The reason that I got so excited about this was that it was the most solid, indicative collection I’ve seen,” he said. “I’m fully prepared for ‘The Leaf’ to have been made by Henry Bright, or by his father, after the 1790s. But I’ve never seen a story that fits together so neatly.”

** A photogenic drawing is a precursor to the photograph and is created by placing an object on a piece of photosensitive paper and exposing it to light.