There are actually a suprisingly large number of  books on the subject , you just have to search hard for them. Rather than list every single one,  here are the ones I repeatedly turn to for information and inspiration..The Calotype society has a more complete list

The process.

Primative Photography , A Guide to making Cameras, Lenses and Calotypes by Alan Greene . A great place to start for any budding Calotypist ,brilliantly researched and full of sound advice.

The Calotype Process A Hand Book to Photography on paper by Thomas Sutton BA . Probably the definative article certainly of the 1850s if you follow the advice in this book you won't go far wrong.

Practical Photography on Glass and Paper , a Manual. By Charles A Long. "There are two procees by which the author has succeded in obtaining most excellent result, and he now purposes to give such plain and simple directions in both of them , that if followed carefully and in detail,by the merest tyro in the art must lead him to success" Mr Long is right !

If you combine the wisdom contained in the above books with that contained in Dr John Adamsons article then the Calotype process should be straight forward.

Photographic Notes Volume 1 1856 edited by Thomas Sutton. A fascinating insight into mid 1850s photography and jam packed with gems of information and process to try out - if you dare !

A Manual of Photography by Robert Hunt . More insight into early photography by one of the early practicioners of the art who was at its forefront throughout the 1840s and 1850s.


The Albumen and Salted paper book by James M Reilly. Full of history , advice and research. Indispensible.

The Salt Print Manual by Ellie Young. Your prints will out live you if you follow Ellie's advice.



The Personal Art of David Octavious Hill by Sara Stevenson. A beautiful , insightful and inspirational book.

The Photographic art of William Henry Fox Talbot by Larry J Schaaf..  Larry is the expert on Talbot and this is a beautifuly illustrated book full of his rich research.

Benjamin Brecknell Turner . Rural England through a Victorian Lens. By Martin Barnes. Turner was the first great English Landscape photography. The beauty and scale of his work presented in this book is breathtaking.

Impressed By Light . British photographs from paper negatives 1840 - 1860. By Larry Schaaf and Roger Taylor. An immense amount of information is contained in this equally immense book. There is more than a lifetimes research here beautifully presented. This is a rich resource for any budding photo historian or Calotypist . (same thing really !)

Burning with Desire by Geoffrey Bactchen . I confess I really struggled with the first chapter, so persevere or skip over it. The rest of the book is facsinating and very well written . Crammed full of information and inspiration.

​Amateurs photography and the Mid-Victorian Imagination by Grace Seiberling . ​A superbly researched and very readable account of the role of the early amateur photographer and how they shaped the early years of the art. A constant source of reference.

​Sir William Newton . Miniature painter and photographer . By Linda Goforth Zillman. ​Sir William Newton was a prominent figure in 1850s photography. Sir William is a recent discovery for me and this book is a real gem . If you are interested in the battle for photography to be recognised as an art then this is for you. 

Ones for the future.

​In the Blink of an Eye by Ali Bacon . Due for release in April 2018 by Linen Press. A wonderful step back into Edinburgh of the 1840s and the world of Robert Adamson and David Octavius Hill . Ali is a wonderfully clever writer and I enjoyed this moving Historical novel tremendously.

David Bruce and Alison Morrison Low are currently researching a book about the great unsung hero of early Scottish Photography  - Dr John Adamson .






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