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Document number: 3790
Date: 05 Feb 1839
Recipient: FEILDING Elisabeth Theresa, née Fox Strangways
Author: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA39-8
Last updated: 20th December 2010

44 Queen Ann Street
Feb. 5th 1839

My Dear Mother

It appears that in point of fact M. Daguerre’s experiments <1> were prior to mine.

I have received a letter from M. Biot in which he says that he himself is able to attest that M. D.<2> has been occupied on the subject for fourteen years. I have received a very kind letter from Fazakerley, and have sent him a specimen<3> to St Leonards – I was very much amused at the Literary Gazette thinking, that this invention “would affect the temporal interests of many” –<4>

When I get a large frank I will send you Powell’s “Tradition Unveiled” <5> being an attack on the Puseyites. <6>

You know we had fixed on the name Charles Henry, but if you wish it we can make it C.H.F.T.<7> Constance <8> says she is quite willing –

Today we have had a very foggy atmosphere quite unpropitious for the State procession of Opening the Session; however we have let the servants go and look, & they will fancy that they saw the Queen <9> at a distance.

Your affte son


1. Daguerreotype. See Doc. No: 03787.

2. Mssr. Daguerre. Jean-Baptiste Biot (1774–1862), French scientist. [See Doc. No: 03783].

3. An example of photogenic drawing. John Nicholas Fazakerley (1787–1852), MP.

4. Comparing photography's potential effect on the printing industry, which itself had largely supplanted hand copyists, they observed: "This discovery will doubtless make a great revolution in the arts of design; and, in a multitude of cases, will supersede old methods altogether inferior. The temporary interest of many may, at first, be affected; but whatever has the true character of good, cannot essentially do mischief." "French Discovery - Pencil of Nature", The Literary Gazette and Journal of belles lettres, science and art, no. 1150, 2 February 1839, p. 74.

5. Baden Powell, Tradition Unveiled; or, an exposition of the pretensions and tendency of authoritative teaching in the Church (London: 1839).

6. Followers of Edward Bouverie Pusey (1800–1882), theologian.

7. This might logically be interpreted as Charles Henry Fox Talbot, but what was being considered was actually Charles Henry Feilding Talbot - see the discussion before the birth of the Talbot's third child, which turned out to be a daughter: Doc. No: 03788. In the end, neither Feilding nor Fox was added to the son's name.

8. Constance Talbot, née Mundy (1811–1880), WHFT’s wife.

9. Victoria (1819–1901), Queen of the United Kingdom (1837–1901), Empress of India (1876–1901).