Leading photographers donate major works to help save the Fox Talbot Archive

Qinghai Province23 April 2014

Sixteen photographs by leading contemporary artists will be sold at a Sotheby’s auction next month in support of the Bodleian Libraries’ campaign to save the personal archive of William Henry Fox Talbot.

The campaign is a remarkable international effort as the photographs have been generously donated by major figures in contemporary photography from around the world, including Hiroshi Sugimoto, the New-York based Japanese photographer and architect; fashion photographers Miles Aldridge and John Swannell; Nadav Kander, London based photographer, artist and director, known for his portraiture and landscapes; Candida Höfer, internationally-renowned photographer from Germany; Massimo Vitali, Italian photographer; Martin Parr, award-winning British documentary photographer, film-maker and photojournalist. With this gesture, the artists pay homage to the Fox Talbot, the father of photography on paper and of the art they are exponents of.

Hiroshi Sugimoto has donated two works, neither of which has ever been released onto the market before: Talbotized 011, 2012 and Talbotized 004, 2012, which have been directly inspired by the Talbot archive. Also on sale will be Martin Parr’s print which he took at Lacock Abbey on the 150th anniversary of Talbot’s invention in 1989 (below).

Lacock AbbeyRichard Ovenden, Bodley’s Librarian, said: ‘The acquisition of the Personal Archive of William has been an effort to preserve a major archive in the history of photography - a significant part of a collection already dispersed between other institutions – and to encourage scholarly activity in and around the archive in the University of Oxford. We are enormously grateful to the contemporary photographers who have devoted their energy and talent in producing the works which are offered in this auction. We warmly encourage bids: acquire a great photograph and help save a major archive, all at the same time.’

The Bodleian’s appeal was launched in December 2012 with an initial deadline of the end of February 2013 to raise £2.2 million pounds needed for purchasing the Archive. A significant grant of £1.2 million from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) gave the appeal a vital boost. With a recent gift from the Art Fund in the amount of £200,000, along with donations from numerous other private individuals and charitable trusts, the Bodleian has managed to secure almost £1.9 million towards the purchase of the Archive. The Bodleian has successfully negotiated an extension to the fundraising deadline and must raise the remaining £375,000 needed to fully fund the acquisition by August 2014.

Images reproduced by kind permission of Sotheby's

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