Historic photographs from the dawn of photography will be revealed in the first ever major exhibition to take place at the British Library in London.

The exhibition, entitled Points of View: Capturing the 19th century in Photographs, will draw on the British Library’s collection of more than 300,000 images.

Opening on 30 October, it will feature 250 ‘rarely-seen’ prints including a ‘Calotype negative’ created by British photography inventor William Henry Fox Talbot, dating from 1842-43 (pictured below).

‘Camera phones are now ubiquitous, but in its infancy, photography was an expensive, elaborate and experimental pursuit,’ said a British Library spokesman.

The Library’s head of Visual Materials John Falconer added: ‘Points of View explores the development of photography in the 19th century and how it quickly became a common part of daily life and a major commercial industry.

‘Today we can’t imagine life without photos but its invention opened up a new world of visual communication and personal expression.’

The show will examine the development and influence of photography, from its invention in 1839 up to the growth of a ‘popular amateur market’ in the early 20th century.

The British Library’s collection includes images from Kodak’s British-based archive.

Stretching back more than 120 years the Kodak Limited Archive is billed as a ‘treasure trove of primary material for historians and researchers of the history of photography’.


Kodak pictures donated to British Library

Picture: William Henry Fox Talbot – An oak tree in winter – c.1842-43 (British Library)

Fox Talbot at British Library

Picture: Lady Alice Mary Kerr, Portrait of Wilfrid Scawen Blunt, c.1870 (British Library)

British Museum exhibition