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Document number: 5551
Date: 02 Feb 1846
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: BRIDGES George Wilson
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA46-24
Last updated: 10th December 2010

Paris –
2nd Feby 1846

My dear Sir

Mentioning just now your recent discoveries and improvement in the art of Talbotype <1> to my friend Mr Haight <2>, one of the most extensive travellers, and observers who have ever crossed the Atlantic in search of information, he expresses a great desire to become acquainted with the illustrious Author, – and as he proposes shortly to pass through England in his return to the United States, I have ventured to assure him that you will kindly afford him the information he requires – either by seeing him at Lacock Abbey, or referring him to your working man at Reading. <3>

I am building an instrument here by Chevalier <4> in some measure an improvement on the one he made for Mr Calvert <5> ,– and, on the paper you so kindly gave me, hope soon to send you a proof of my industry in Maltese lights <6>, and scenery –

May I beg to be kindly remembered to Mrs Talbot and the Lady Elizabeth Feilding <7> – and that you will believe me My dear Sir

very truly Your’s
Geo W Bridges

Fox Talbot Esqre

Let me add that Mr Haight is a great Egyptian traveller – and will be able to furnish you with some curious information and specimens of Papyri –

Fox Talbot Esqre
Lacock Abbey


1. Alternative name for the Calotype.

2. Richard Kip Haight (1798-1862), American merchant, poet & traveller. [See Doc. No: 05605].

3. Nicolaas Henneman (1813–1898), born in Holland and trained in Paris, was WHFT’s valet who emerged as his assistant in photography. Henneman set up his Calotype works at 8 Russell Terrace, Reading. Commencing operations at the start of 1844, it functioned both as a photographic studio and as a photographic printing works and continued through late 1846, at which time Henneman transferred his operations to London. Although Talbot supported Henneman through custom, such as printing the plates for The Pencil of Nature, and loans, it was always Henneman's operation. His business cards made no mention of "The Reading Establishment," the designation that it is popularly given today; the only contemporary use of that title seemed to be by Benjamin Cowderoy -see Doc. No: 05690. At this time, the reference might have been to Benjamin Cowderoy (1812–1904), a land agent in Reading, later a politician in Australia, who WHFT brought in to help with Henneman's business affairs.

4. Charles Chevalier (1804–1859), optician, Paris.

5. Rev Calvert Richard Jones (1802–1877), Welsh painter & photographer.

6. Bridges was on his way to join Calvert Jones in Malta. [See Doc. No: 05538].

7. Constance Talbot, née Mundy (1811–1880), WHFT’s wife and Lady Elisabeth Theresa Feilding, née Fox Strangways, first m Talbot (1773–1846), WHFT’s mother.

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