link to Talbot Project home page link to De Montfort University home page link to Glasgow University home page
Project Director: Professor Larry J Schaaf

Back to the letter search >

Document number: 6976
Date: Tue 23 May 1854
Recipient: HERSCHEL John Frederick William
Author: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Collection: Royal Society, London
Collection number: HS 26:54
Last updated: 30th April 2012

Sir J. Herschel

Athm Club <1>
May 23/54

Dr Sir

I am much obliged by your note received this morning.

My opponents <2> only filed their affidavits this morning (having undertaken to do so last Thursday) – The principal affidavit is by Mr Robert Hunt, <3> and as you will see, he introduces your name.

I have therefore thought it right to send you a copy of it, and at the same time to ask you for a short affidavit in reply to that part only of Mr H’s affidavit which names yourself (not noticing any other part of it). I have followed partly the wording of the note I received from you this morning. The rest I have drawn up in words that I thought you would likely to adopt, but if not, pray alter them to others. I find that I need not trouble you to call at Lincolns Inn, for as soon as the words of the affidavit are settled, and you appoint a time, I can call on you with a solicitor either in Harley St of an evening, or at the Mint, at an earlier period of the day. I have just now taken down the Transns of the Royal Society for 1840, and carefully reperused your paper <4> and can find no other mention of gallic acid than that at page 8, which therefore I conclude to be the passage referred to my Mr Hunt. I think the Vice Chancellor will hear the cause on Friday, therefore tomorrow or Thursday are the days on which I could call on you with a solicitor empowered to take an affidavit. (This is a new arrangement, very convenient for persons engaged in legal proceedings).

Yours very truly
H. F. Talbot


1. Athenaeum Club, Pall Mall, London: WHFT’s club; a gentleman’s club composed primarily of artists and scientists.

2. The witnesses for the defendant, James Henderson, photographer, London.

3. Enclosure of affidavit by Robert Hunt (1807–1887), scientist & photographic historian, has not been located. According to the records of the Court of Chancery, Hunt swore this affidavit 22 May 1854.

4. John Frederick William Herschel, ‘On the Chemical Action of the Rays of the Solar Spectrum on Preparations of Silver and Other Substances, Both Metallic and Non-metallic, and on Some Photographic Processes,’, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 1840, pp.1–59.