|The earliest know photograph has been sold.
It's a photo of an engraving. Technology keeps devouring itself.
I posit two modes of technological advancement; the oscillating & the redundant. An example of the first would be the butter warmer in the fridge in the heated house. An example of the second would be rubber nipples on the chrome bosses of say, a buggy bumper. Or another way is to say tech
advances by nesting or by stacking: one will collapse ; the other will fall over. Eat your heart out or the tower of Babel? Frank is definately swimming around today in darkness visible.
Stacking which, in this case continues: the image we're looking at on Yahoo! is a jpeg of a digital photo of a photo of an engraving. The engraving is probably taken from a drawing, which is probably based on someone else's drawing. Ephemeral as all this sounds, money is changing hands all the way up the stack. 'Cause people just love horses.
But do you think there ever was a horse to begin with?
Did someone sit down and draw that horse, in that position, from life? That's tougher. It's likely a mixture of observation and imagination; whether observation-and-modification of an existing horse or an existing image of a horse is hard to say (the human figure could have been added at any point). That kind of genre subject could easily been passed around in the public domain for years.