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Document number: 05690
Date: 22 Jul 1846
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: COWDEROY Benjamin Thomas
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA46-084
Last updated: 14th April 2010

July 22d /46

Dr Sir/

As I wish to send you a packet containing specimens of Mr Calvert Jones’s last pictures for your instructions as to the waxing of the negatives perhaps you will favor me with an address to which I may send it in Cheltenham.

Mr Shipton on the promenade is our principal Agent. Mr Lovejoy not many doors from him (–towards the High Street) is the other. You will perhaps drop into their Shops at your leisure. Mr Shipton has declined the offer of the positives of 6 local Views @ 1/6 each as proposed Shall you take some views during your stay or will it still be requisite to send Henneman?

If the weather favored me I am sure I could bring a good stock of selling pictures from the Isle of Wight, if you think a week’s excursion for the purpose worth while. At Southampton, Cowes, Portsmouth &c famous opportunities offer for taking shipping. Osborne House, with its new Tower &c would pay for a Journey if one two or three good views of it were taken

Very resply Yrs
B Cowderoy

[advertisement on which the letter was written:]

(The latest Edition)

patent talbotype,


sun pictures.

Terms of Licenses, &c.

For a License to an Amateur, bonâ fide for the purpose of amusement only…1 Guineas

Ditto, with Personal Instructions, given at the Reading Establishment…10 Guineas <1>

[The Instructions comprise Four Lessons, which may extend from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – and, if desired, are given in two portions, for the learner to practise in the interval.]

An order for Iodised paper to the amount of three Guineas will entitle the purchaser to an Amateur’s License gratis.

Where Five or more persons, in one Town, form a Class for instruction, an Artist is sent to teach them, at a small additional charge.

It is expected from Licensees, as one of the conditions of the License, (and which is at the same time an additional security for their success,) that they will purchase their iodised paper* from the Reading Establishment: the manufacture of that article being secured by patent, and requiring very particular care and attention. The prices are –

Best quality – Packets of 5 sheets for large Cameras.. 4s.

Ditto, 10 sheets for small ditto… 2s.

Second quality – in similar Packets, at one-fourth less.

The Iodised Paper is warranted to keep any length of time in any climate, without change.

A complete set of Apparatus can be had only of Mr. B. Cowderoy, Reading, who has on hand a Stock of Cameras and Cases of Chemicals, adapted to every purpose. The prices are from 5 Guineas upwards. No others can be relied on.

cash payments.

*Iodised paper is only needed for the first or negative pictures.


1. This is the first known contemporary usage of the now-common designation of "The Reading Establishment." Nicolaas Henneman (1813–1898), born in Holland and trained in Paris, was WHFT’s valet who emerged as his assistant in photography. Henneman set up his Calotype works at 8 Russell Terrace, Reading. Commencing operations at the start of 1844, it functioned both as a photographic studio and as a photographic printing works and continued through late 1846, at which time Henneman transferred his operations to London. Although Talbot supported Henneman through custom, such as printing the plates for The Pencil of Nature, and loans, it was always Henneman's operation. His business cards made no mention of "The Reading Establishment."