New exhibition at the Fox Talbot Museum in Lacock

111 Lacock Exhibition - Diagram of 19th century camera

‘Capturing the Light’, the new exhibition on the first floor of the Fox Talbot Museum in Lacock, shows a unique collection of fascinating artefacts, from pre-photographic optical devices, period cameras from 1780 to 1860, and early photographs.

These long forgotten processes and curious pictures give an insight into the minds and ideas of the key figures in early photography, from Nicéphore Niépce to Frederick Scott Archer. 

‘2014 is a very important year at Lacock Abbey; 175 years ago William Henry Fox Talbot, former owner of the abbey, shared his invention of photography with the world. A new museum display on the ground floor gives a great introduction into the history of photography that has been enjoyed by visitors of all ages,’ says Kristine Heuser, Marketing and Communications Officer at Lacock. ‘The exhibition on the first floor complements the downstairs display giving an in-depth insight into photographic history’. 

The display includes items that have never been on show before, both from the Fox Talbot Museum Collection at Lacock, as well as items from private collections across the country and abroad, and shows them all together in one room for the first time. 

An artist’s studio, including a dressing up area, completes the display and invites visitors to travel back in time and imagine themselves in a Victorian photography studio. 

‘This exhibition offers something interesting for everyone and you’ll be sure to see a lot of items that you’ve never heard of or seen before. The history of photography is fascinating and multifaceted. Not many people know that it all started here in Wiltshire, so it’s great to bring this part of Lacock’s and the world’s, history to life’, explains Roger Watson, Curator of the Museum. 

The two main inventors of photography, William Henry Fox Talbot, here in Lacock and Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre, in Paris, experimented with optical devices and possible chemical substances already in existence. By the mid-1830s they were both on the trail of inventing photography and both announced their very different methods in January 1839. Each has a section in the new exhibition devoted to their processes and technology. 

Capturing the light is running daily until 4 January 2015 and is open during normal museum opening hours. Normal admission charges apply. National Trust members and under 5s go free. Please call 01249 730459 for more information or visit

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