An historic first edition of a book describing Fox Talbot?s invention of photography in 1839 is expected to raise up to £30,000 at Christie?s on 31 May.

?Talbot was the first of the early experimenters in photography to propose, in this paper, a fundamental principle of modern photography: the use of a fixed negative image as the master copy to be used to produce a theoretically unlimited number of positive copies,? states the auction catalogue.

Entitled The Art of Photogenic Drawing the gem is credited as ?The first separate publication on photography in the world?.

It will star alongside 200 other photobooks at the London auction.

On page 12 of the book Fox Talbot wrote: ?If the picture so obtained is first preserved so as to bear sunshine, it may be afterwards itself employed as an object to be copied; and by means of this second process the lights and shadows are brought back to their original disposition.?

Work by Henri-Cartier Bresson and Man Ray will also be on sale.

Items expected to go under the hammer from £500.

The Europeans by Henri Cartier-Bresson, published in 1955 is described as a first edition presentation copy which has been inscribed by the photographer.

The sale also includes Cowboy Kate, published by Sam Haskins in 1965, which is expected to raise up to £30,000.

?Last year?s auction has ensured that photobooks are a more widely recognised artistic medium,? said Sven Becker, specialist head of sales at Christie?s.

Last year?s auction of photobooks ? the first of its kind at Christie?s ? raised more than £600,000.

The books will go on public view on 25, 27, 29 and 30 May.

The sale takes place at 10.30am on 31 May at Christie?s, 8 King Street, St James?s, London SW1Y 6QT. Tel: 020 7839 9060.

Picture credit: Christie’s Images Ltd