Create your first list.

A way to share and manage lots.

  • Provenance

    Robert Hershkowitz, Ltd., Sussex, 1992

  • Literature

    Schaaf 2819

  • Catalogue Essay

    This early photograph is one of two variant images of chess players traditionally ascribed to William Henry Fox Talbot. New research by Talbot authority Larry Schaaf casts doubt upon this attribution and suggests that the maker is more likely Nicolaas Henneman, who had worked for Talbot before establishing his own studio. In his essay "The Puzzling Chess Players", Schaaf notes that this image was included by Henneman in an 1847 prototype for a book of his photographs that was never published. Inventory numbers and stamps on other prints of The Chess Players connect the images to Henneman and his studio partnership with Thomas Malone. Schaaf also entertains the possibility that it may have been made by the French-born, London-based photographer Antoine Claudet, who is the silver–haired gentleman on the left in the present image. Schaaf’s exegesis on this photograph can be found at

    The question of authorship aside, the present lot possesses an immediacy not frequently seen in images made in photography’s earliest years.


The Chess Players

no later than 1847
Salt print.
7 5/8 x 5 5/8 in. (19.4 x 14.3 cm)
Annotated 'LA249' in ink on the verso.

$10,000 - 15,000 

Sold for $10,000

Contact Specialist
Caroline Deck
Senior Specialist, Head of Sale

Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Deputy Chairman, Americas

General Enquiries:
+1 212 940 1245

The Odyssey of Collecting: Photographs from Joy of Giving Something Foundation, Part 2

New York 4 April 2017