Friday Decr 1st
My dear Henry
These two letters are the only ones that have come for you –<1> Yesterday & today have been so very dark that Nichole <2> has done nothing with the Camera though I believe he has been very busy other ways – and I saw the frames taking copies – Till yesterday the weather was very bright – I have seen the negatives of the Spanish views - & I thought they looked promising–<3> I observed he had taken 2 of each subject, varying a little in depth of tint. – I have composed a little frame with the 4 first lines of the “Last rose of Summer” & it is now waiting for brighter weather.–<4>
Lady Elisabeth <5> & Horatia <6> came home on Wednesday – they left Miss Fox & Lady Kerry <7> en tête à tête <8> – Lady Lansdowne <9> having set off this morning to join Lord L <10> at Brighton – & Lady Louisa
gone the day before to Melbury <11> for change of air.
They are getting quite fidgetty for the arrival of the Shelburns<12> – Though I believe they cannot be expected at the Soonest under a fortnight.
Till their arrival, the rest of the family seem to be at a loss what to do with themselves, as they do not mean to have any company at Bowood <13> till after they are quite acquainted with Lady S – & Lord Lansdowne seems ennuyé <14> with Brighton, though he has been urged by Sir B. Brodie <15> to give the baths a fair trial for his arm. –
I am afraid you will find Marian <16> very far from well – perhaps indeed scarcely equal to see you – if you should have time to go to Wimpole St <17> – She told me in her last letter that she meant to have other advice if she did not begin to get better very soon – and I have written to advise this mostly strongly without further delay –
1. Letters not identified.
2. Nicolaas Henneman (1813–1898), Dutch, active in England; WHFT’s valet, then assistant; photographer.
3. WHFT made numerous copies of Spanish engravings.
4. Poem by Thomas Moore (1780–1852), Irish poet, Irish Melodies The first four lines read, ‘Tis the last rose of Summer, Left blooming alone; All her lovely companions Are faded and gone;’. This is one of the few instances where Constance took an active role in her husband's photography. The resulting lines of type, pasted up, formed an early sort of photographic typesetting. Her negative is preserved in the Fox Talbot Collection of the British Library (Schaaf 3824) and there is one known print, in a small album that came from Lacock Abbey and is now in the Talbot Collection at the National Media Museum, Bradford. The negative is illustrated in H J P Arnold, William Henry Fox Talbot; Pioneer of Photography and Man of Science (London: Hutchinson Benham, Ltd, 1977), figure 21. WHFT included this concept in his Patent No. 9753, Photography, 6 June 1843, enrolled 1 December 1843. 'The eighth part of my invention is a kind of photographic printing. Some pages of letterpress are taken, printed on one side only. These pages are waxed, if though necessary. The letters are then cut out separately, and sorted after their kinds, and placed in separate cases for convenience of use. In order to compose a new page, a sheet of white paper is tkaend, and ruled with straight lines. The words are then formed by cementing the separate letters in their proper order...the rest of the rpocess is photographic. The page being completed and ready, a negative photographic copy is taken from it...and then the requisite number of copies are taken from it.' WHFT also suggested using larger letter, slid into slots (like an old scoreboard) and photographed with a camera.
5. Lady Elisabeth Theresa Feilding, née Fox Strangways, first m Talbot (1773–1846), WHFT’s mother.
6. Henrietta Horatia Maria Gaisford, née Feilding (1810–1851), WHFT’s half-sister.
7. William Thomas Fitzmaurice, Earl of Kerry (1811–1836), MP.
8. Alone together.
9. Louisa Emma Petty Fitzmaurice, née Fox Strangways, Marchioness of Lansdowne (1785-1851), wife of Henry Petty Fitzmaurice, 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne; Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Victoria, 1837-1838; WHFT's aunt.
10. Henry Petty Fitzmaurice, 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne (1780–1863), MP, WHFT’s uncle.
11. Melbury, Dorset: one of the Fox Strangways family homes; WHFT was born there.
12. 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.
13. Bowood House, nr Calne, Wiltshire, 5 mi NE of Lacock: seat of the Marquess of Lansdowne.
15. Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie (1783–1862), surgeon.
16. Her sister, Marian Gilder, née Mundy (1806 – 14 October 1860); m. 6 August 1844 William Troward Gilder (d. 1871), Army Surgeon (ret).