Constance Fox Talbot

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Constance Fox Talbot
Photo of Constance Fox Talbot.jpg
Constance Fox Talbot, circa 1840,
photograph by William Henry Fox Talbot
Constance Mundy

(1811-01-30)30 January 1811
Died9 September 1880(1880-09-09) (aged 69)
Known forPhotography
Spouse(s)William Henry Fox Talbot

Constance Talbot (née Mundy, 30 January 1811 – 9 September 1880)[1] was an English artist credited as the first woman ever to take a photograph – a hazy image of a short verse by the Irish poet Thomas Moore.[2]

Constance, who came from Markeaton in Derbyshire,[3] was the youngest daughter of Francis Mundy (1771–1837), Member of Parliament for that county from 1822 to 1831.[4]

She married William Henry Fox Talbot, one of the key players in the development of photography in the 1830s and 1840s, in 1832.[3] In 1833, during their honeymoon in Italy, her husband realised that her artistic abilities were superior to his, and began to develop a method to capture a view without draughtsmanship, which led to the negative-positive process of photography.[5]

She briefly experimented with the process herself as early as 1839.[6]

Her watercolours and drawings remained hidden at Lacock Abbey, Fox Talbot's home, until they were digitised by the National Trust and made publicly available.[5][7]


  1. ^ "Constance Mundy Talbot", Find a Grave. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
  2. ^ Maev Kennedy, "Bodleian Library launches £2.2m bid to stop Fox Talbot archive going overseas", The Guardian, 9 December 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
  3. ^ a b Nannavy, John (1997). Fox Talbot. Princes Risborough: Shire Publications Ltd. p. 7. ISBN 0-7478-0351-X.
  4. ^ "Derbyshire", The History of Parliament. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
  5. ^ a b Mark Bridge (1 December 2020). "Artistic jealousy that inspired William Henry Fox Talbot to develop photography". The Times. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  6. ^ Buckland, Gail (1980). Fox Talbot and the invention of photography. D. R. Godine. ISBN 978-0-87923-307-5.
  7. ^ "The Watercolour Project". The National Trust. Retrieved 1 December 2020.