My dear Henry
I was agreeably surprised by your letter this morning – particularly as I did not suppose you would reach London before post-time. <1>
I am sorry you felt the heat so very much on the journey – Today I think has been really hot –
Your paper arrived this morning – 20 quires of gilt edged, Whatman Turkey Mill <2>1842 – you said it was to be 1840 – In consequence of this difference I have given none to Porter <3> but await your directions. Can the variation in the date be of any importance?
I took advantage of the fine weather today to go to Sloperton <4>– I met Mrs Starky <5> there & Mrs Hughes – & Miss Moore is still remaining for about 3 weeks longer – I thought both Mr & Mrs Moore appeared more florishing than on the last occasion of my going there. – Mrs Moore again in difficulties about her servants & therefore unable to leave home – Her garden looks still very pretty. – I met on my way home 2 carriages – the Awdrys’ <6> & the Sotherons’ <7> – they had chosen the cooler hours of the day
than I did for their drives – They told me at Sloperton that they believed there were no difficulties of a serious nature in the way of Lord Shelburne’s marriage <8>–
2. Whatman’s Turkey Mill paper, a hand-made writing-paper made in Maidstone, Kent, was favoured by WHFT for photographic use. Its wove surface provided a uniform base for prints and a patternless density for negatives, and it had good wet-strength, although small variations in texture and chemical content could cause problems when the paper was used in photography. The gelatin size suited photographic chemistry better than the rosin used in some other papers, particularly Continental ones. It was generally watermarked with the year of manufacture and certain years were sought after.
3. Charles Porter (b. 1828), a servant at Lacock Abbey. He was the frequent subject of photographs and occasionally also photographic assistant.
4. Sloperton Cottage, Wiltshire, 1 mi E of Lacock: home of Thomas Moore, the Irish poet.
5. Mrs Starkey of Spye Park, Wiltshire, 2 mi SE of Lacock.
6. Probably Mr and Mrs Henry Goddard Awdry (1804–1881), solicitor, Chippenham.
7. Mr and Mrs Thomas Henry Sutton Sotheron Bucknall Estcourt (1801–1876), MP.
8. Sir Henry Petty Fitzmaurice, Lord Shelburne, 4th Marquess of Lansdowne (1816–1866), MP and WHFT's cousin. He had married Lady Georgiana Herbert (1817-1841) on 18 August 1840, but she died on 28 February 1841. He married secondly, Hon Emily Jane Mercer-Elphinstone-de Flahault, Baroness Nairne (1819-1895), on 1 November 1843 at the British Embassy in Vienna.