My dear Henry
I am very much obliged to you for all the beautiful Photographs which arrived safely pr post yesterday. I am charmed with them particularly the one of the old tree <1> which split & fell during a stormy night I spent at Lacock The view too of Lacock done by your new method <2> deserves to be particularly noticed it is beautifully clear and distinct. I wish the leaves had not glittered behind Mlle Amélina <3> for her portrait <4> is not so good in consequence. I think her bonnet & the folds of her gown are very good. This October must have suited you very well the Mornings in particular are lovely the Sun so bright and clear. I remember you had had indifferent weather in the Summer when you went to Oxford, but as the buildings will stand for ages to come (I hope), you can go there again & take more views. <5> I really think you will get every thing but a railroad loco motive [sic] (unless it stands still!) We are going to Sir Chas Lemon’s <6> on Saturday & I should like to pay you a little visit at Lacock very much if we have time when we move homewards but at present I cannot say when that will be or whether we can do so. –
My kind love to Mrs Talbot & the Children <7>
I am your affate coz
1. Probably ‘Wheel &c’, Schaaf 2347, reproduced in Larry J. Schaaf, The Photographic Art of William Henry Fox Talbot (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000), p. 73.
2. Probably ‘Roofline of Lacock Abbey’, reproduced in Larry J. Schaaf, Out of the Shadows: Herschel, Talbot, & the Invention of Photography (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1992), p. 106. The ‘new method’ was the calotype process, with which WHFT had had his first success in late September 1840.
4. One of the very first portraits WHFT made, taken on 13 October 1840 in the garden with a 3 second exposure. Schaaf 2506, reproduced in Gail Buckland, Fox Talbot and the invention of photography (Boston: D.R. Godine, 1980), p. 64.
5. WHFT returned to Oxford on photographic expeditions in 1842, 1843 and possibly 1844; as a result four plates of various buildings and monuments in Oxford were included in WHFT, The Pencil of Nature (London: Longman, Brown, Green, & Longmans, June 1844–April 1846 [issued in six fascicles]).
6. Sir Charles Lemon (1784–1868), politician & scientist; WHFT’s uncle.
7. Constance Talbot, née Mundy (1811–1880), WHFT’s wife; Ela Theresa Talbot (1835–1893), WHFT’s 1st daughter; Rosamond Constance ‘Monie’ Talbot (1837–1906), artist & WHFT’s 2nd daughter; Matilda Caroline Gilchrist-Clark, ‘Tilly’, née Talbot (1839–1927), WHFT’s 3rd daughter.