24 July 2009

Leaf, 1790

Leaf (left) may be the oldest photograph ever found - and worth millions. The image was sold by Sotheby's in London in 1984 for £6,000 as a striking historical photograph, creator unknown. When it came back up for sale in New York last month it was expected to fetch as much as £70,000. Expert Larry Schaaf, examined the image and found the letter W, which he believes could stand for Thomas Wedgwood, a member of the pottery dynasty who was carrying out photography experiments.
Chris Mahoney, senior vice-president in the photography department of Sotheby's, New York, said it had been thought that no examples of Wedgwood's early experiments remained.
"There's always been the hope that at some point a piece by Wedgwood would have miraculously survived."
Experts will spend months poring over Leaf and looking at documentation from Wedgwood's time to try to pin down whether it is his work. - The Guardian

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