March 30th 1846.
My dear Sir /
Although greatly indebted to you for your very kind introduction here, the pain that it has caused me would almost make me regret it, were I not led to hope that my feeble aid may have somewhat relieved the agonised mind of the poor sufferer <1>, whose anxious affection had blinded him to the fatal blow preparing for him.– Death has done its work – Time will now, doubtless, do its own. – A week however had not elapsed since the death of Lady Charlotte, when the afflicted husband was agonised by the cruel blow <2> which has so unexpectedly, & so heavily, fallen, my dear Sir, upon you<.> Both of you will, however, derive comfort, or at least sustaining resignation, from the same unfailing source – and I am happy to say that Mr Talbot here sets you the example which his additional affliction renders the more excellent – He has become calm & composed under the blessed assurance which Heaven vouchsafes its applicants – and he looks confidently through the duties, & trials, which must still naturally devolve upon him, to the happy reunion he so ardently desires. – Another week will we trust, enable him to commence his journey homeward – which the affectionate attentions of his accompanying friends will render less arduous than he anticipates, should he not, as we have reason to hope that may, meet with his Sister in Italy. <3> –
It is possible that I may accompany them to Syracuse or Messina:– & so occasionally continue to benefit by Mr Jones <4>’ kind instructions, in the art which you will ere this, have seen that he has pursued with so much success. – Chevalier <5> has built me an instrument precisely like his:– but the prepared paper <6> which you were so obliging as to give to I have transferred to Mr Jones, who will be better enabled to make good use of it, for your purpose, in Italy, that I should here – I have only to entreat of you to give me the present address of your manufacturer Henneman <7> – who has, I understand, moved from Reading <8> or, which will save time, and be much better, to beg you to order him on my account, & as quickly as possible, to forward to my Brother, John Bridges Esq Warnford Court, Throgmorton street [sic], London 250 of his 1st quality sheets, like those you gave me – and 250 copying paper – My brother shall have orders to pay him, & to send them on to me:– for I think that I shall defer my departure hence for Greece & Syria untill [sic] I receive them – which makes me very anxious not to wait for Mr Jones’ arrival in England, when I am sure he will kindly exert himself to procure what I require. –
I take a very great liberty by making this request of you: and at a most unfortunate time, when your mind is otherwise, and most grievously, occupied. – Yet perhaps your kindness will turn it to my additional profit – by making it an opportunity of telling me that my hopes, as to the peaceful resignation of your mind, are realised – that Mrs Talbot, Lady Mt Edgcumbe <9>, and their sweet children, are well – and that you still, in spite of my presumption, believe me
my dear Mr Talbot, very faithfully & truly your obliged Servant
Geo W Bridges
W. Fox Talbot Esquire
1. Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot (1803–1890), immensely wealthy landowner, mathematician & politician; WHFT’s Welsh cousin, who had just lost his wife Lady Charlotte Butler (1809–1846).
2. The death of Lady Elisabeth Theresa Feilding, née Fox Strangways, first m Talbot (1773–1846), WHFT’s mother.
3. Jane Harriot Nicholl, née Talbot (1796–1874), married toDr John Nicholl (1797–1853), MP. As ‘Kit’ could not leave Malta because of his sick daughter the Nicholl’s came to him. [See Doc. No: 05639].
4. Rev Calvert Richard Jones (1802–1877), Welsh painter & photographer. Calvert Jones and his wife travelled to Messina and Naples before going home; Bridges stayed on Malta.
5. Charles Chevalier (1804–1859), optician, Paris, from whom Bridges had purchased a camera while in Paris on his way to Malta. [See Doc. No: 05551].
6. Paper prepared for making calotypes and photogenic drawings.
7. Nicolaas Henneman (1813–1898), Dutch, active in England; WHFT’s valet, then assistant; photographer.
8. By the summer of 1847, finding that it was impossible to sustain enough business in the town of Reading, Henneman closed his calotype establishment there. Talbot assisted him financially in setting up the “Talbotype or Sun Pictures Rooms” at 122 Regent Street in London and this was announced to the public in The Times in August 1847.
9. Constance Talbot, née Mundy (1811–1880), WHFT’s wife and Caroline Augusta Edgcumbe, née Feilding, Lady Mt Edgcumbe (1808–1881); WHFT’s half-sister.
10. William Stephen Eynaud (1812–1871), merchant at Malta.
11. Richard Kip Haight (1798-1862), American merchant, poet & traveller. [See Doc. No: 05605].