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Document number: 6158
Date: 21 Jun 1848
Recipient: COLLS Richard
Author: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA48-36
Last updated: 29th September 2012

[draft:]

Colls
21 June/48

I was prevd by ind from replng immt to yr lst lr

You will remr yt Y reqd me to make sm plan of [illegible deletion] draw out for you ye skch of a lic, for [illegible deletion] I [illegible deletion] & I accly did so, but if not apprd of, I am quite contt to allow it ye matter to drop. -

To say ye truth, so many perss have writtn to me on ye subjt that ye mere correspe has been a sers loss of time to me, and as ye best & shortest way I am [illegible] to propose at once ye terms to wch I mean to adhere - I certainly would not incur the expence & trouble of ordering a label stamp to be engraved unless you agreed to purchase at least 50 worth of the labels. That condt to a sale of 200 of ye picts & if you do not contemplate so small even so limited a sale as that, I do not thk it wd be worthwhile to engage in ye matter draw out a license. I [illegible deletion] thought ye simplest plan, was yt y. shd not expose or offer to sale any pict. not bearing a label stamp but you wish, as I undsd only to place the stamp on at ye time of sale; - In that case it wd be necessary that y shd give me your bond fr a certn amt as security that you no pict. shd be sold fm your establ without being prevsly stamped to ye proper amount in accordce wh ye agrmt.

I do not know whether In reply to a remark wch you throw out in ye course of yr letter I can only say, that thoh as a matter of courtesy, I can might have no objn to your practising the art for amusement, yet as a matter of right, it is plain yt no one has ye slightest right to do so witht a licse - & with respect to a process wch you say your a friend of yours has invented, to be used instd of mine, it depends of course on ye nature of that process, whether or not it wd be looked upon by my patt agent as an infringt - I can think it proby would, because we are not ourselves acqd with any + process except it is some mere variatn of my [illegible] [illegible deletion] is suffly successful in practise to be[illegible deletion] like that proposed by Mr Hunt and som other persons -

+ process wch will succeed in giving even tolerably good picts, except

[expanded version:]

Colls
21 June 1848

I was prevented by indisposition from replying immediately to your last letter <1>

You will remember that you required me to make some plan of [illegible deletion] draw out for you the sketch of a license <2> [illegible deletion] and I accordingly did so, but if not approved of, I am quite content to allow it the matter to drop.-

To say the truth, so many persons have written to me on the subject that the mere correspondence has been a serious loss of time to me, and as the best & shortest way I am [illegible] to propose at once the terms to which I mean to adhere - I certainly would not incur the expense & trouble of ordering a label stamp to be engraved unless you agreed to purchase at least 50 worth of the labels. That condition to a sale of 200 of the pictures & if you do not contemplate so small even so limited a sale as that, I do not think it would be worthwhile to engage in the matter draw out a license. I [illegible deletion] thought the simplest plan, was that you should not expose or offer to sale any pictures not bearing a label stamp but you wish, as I understand only to place the stamp on at the time of sale; - In that case it would be necessary that you should give me your bond for a certain amount as security that you no pictures should be sold from your establishment without being previously stamped to the proper amount in accordance with the agreement.

I do not know whether In reply to a remark which you throw out in the course of your letter I can only say, that though as a matter of courtesy, I can might have no objection to your practising the art for your own amusement, yet as a matter of right, it is plane that no one has the slightest right to do so without a license - & with respect to a process which you say your a friend of yours has invented, to be used instead of mine, it depends of course on the nature of that process, whether or not it would be looked upon by my patent agent as an infringement - I can think it probably would, because we are not ourselves acquainted with any process which will succeed in giving even tolerably good pictures, except it is some mere variation of my [illegible] [illegible deletion] is sufficiently successful in practice to be [illegible deletion] like that proposed by Mr Hunt <3> and some other persons -


Notes:

1. Letter not located.

2. A license to practise the Calotype process commercially. Colls was applying on behalf of himself, his brother Lebbeus and Robert Jefferson Bingham (1825-1870), English born author and photographer, mostly active in France, who was the premier reproduction photographer of his day. The negotiations fell through and in January 1852, Talbot obtained an injunction against Richard Colls to prevent him from making and selling photographs on paper. See Rupert Derek Wood, "J.B. Reade, F.R.S., and the Early History of Photography; Part II. Gallic Acid and Talbot's Calotype Patent," Annals of Science, v. 27 no. 1, March 1971, pp. 52-53 and passim.

3. Robert Hunt (1807-1887), scientist & photographic historian.