Cuneiform Clay Tablet

c. 1854 in British Museum
Roger Fenton

A salt paper print photograph from a calotype negative entitled 'Cuneiform Clay Tablet', taken by Roger Fenton, c. 1854. The photograph shows a stone tablet, engraved with Cuneiform script an early form of writing that originated around the 34th century BCE. The tablet was excavated at Kuyunjik, within the ruins of the ancient city of Nineveh, now in Iraq. In 1853 the British Museum asked Fenton to document parts of their collection and establish a photographic studio at the museum. Dozens of objects had to be carried up to the rooftop studio, and Fenton had to devise a way using the available light effectively, one answer was to place his camera in a box with curtains, which acted as a lens hood. Fenton went on to take many photographs of classical busts, skeletons, Assyrian tablets and other works of art at the museum.


Object Number:
salt print
National Media Museum, Bradford

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