Saturday August 8th
My dear Uncle Henry
We came here yesterday, & I now write by Mamma’s desire to tell you that she has settled to go to Melbury on Wednesday, starting from hence on Tuesday, & she hopes you will meet her there according to promise. – She is excessively busy to-day going over all the improvements with Valletort and the Builder. – The house is getting on very satisfactorily; several of the new rooms are habitable, at least for servants, but I do not think we shall get into it for some time to come. We went to Mount Edgcumbe on Wednesday last, and on Thursday Valletort was the whole day commanding his Battalion at a great Review of Devon Volunteers near Exeter. –
Please give my best love to all at Millburn Tower<1>
I remain yrs very affectely
[envelope - rear flap monogrammed:]
Henry Fox Talbot Esqre
1. Millburn Tower, Gogar, just west of Edinburgh; the Talbot family made it their northern home from June 1861 to November 1863. It is particularly important because WHFT conducted many of his photoglyphic engraving experiments there. The house had a rich history. Built for Sir Robert Liston (1742-1836), an 1805 design by Benjamin Latrobe for a round building was contemplated but in 1806 a small house was built to the design of William Atkinson (1773-1839), best known for Sir Walter Scott’s Abbotsford. The distinctive Gothic exterior was raised in 1815 and an additional extension built in 1821. Liston had been ambassador to the United States and maintained a warm Anglo-American relationship in the years 1796-1800. His wife, the botanist Henrietta Liston, née Marchant (1751-1828) designed a lavish American garden, sadly largely gone by the time the Talbots rented the house .