“HIS STUDIES RADICALLY ALTERED THE UNDERSTANDING OF MOTION”: ORIGINAL MUYBRIDGE LARGE FOLIO PLATE OF A GALLOPING CAMEL
MUYBRIDGE, Eadweard. “Galloping Camel,” Plate 739 from Animal Locomotion. [Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1887]. Single large folio sheet, measuring 23-1/2 by 18 inches (colotype image measures 13 by 8-1/2 inches, apart from letterpress); mat size: 24-1/2 by 21-1/2 inches. $1800.
Original “Author’s Edition” collotype of multiple sequential studies of a camel in gallop, from the most significant photographic work on the natural motion of animals.
To settle a $25,000 bet that a galloping horse leaves the ground completely, former governor of California Leland Stanford hired photographer Eadweard Muybridge to determine whether or not his claim might be true. Muybridge designed an elaborate photographic system that combined batteries of multiple cameras with rapid shutter mechanisms, in an effort to capture the horse with all four feet off the ground. Stanford won his bet. These were the first successful sequential photographs of rapidly moving objects, and Muybridge would devote the rest of his life to similar photographic studies— with the help of painter Thomas Eakins, who successfully persuaded the University of Pennsylvania to subsidize Muybridge’s further experimentations. Between 1884 and 1886 Muybridge and his team produced 20,000 negatives of various animals and humans in motion, which were then arranged on 781 plates and printed in 1887 as Animal Locomotion. This magnificent sequence of a galloping camel (always with at least one foot on the ground) is plate number 739, with penciled caption in bottom corner, “Bactrian camel, galloping.” See Frizot, 244ff.; Grolier, Truthful Lens 123.
Professionally cleaned, archivally matted. A historic piece. Scarce.