21 May 1852
Pray accept my best thanks for the very beautiful and interesting specimens which you have sent me – Perhaps at a future time you will be able to add to these a view of Penrice, <1> a place most dear to me from the recollections of childhood.
I wish I had something equally interesting to offer you in return but of late I have made but few pictures. However I enclose a little specimen showing the extreme rapidity of the process, one second in the shade. Ld Brougham <2> assured me once that he sat for his Daguerreotype portrait half an hour in the sun<3> and never suffered so much in his life – I don’t know whether his Lordship exaggerated– This was in 1839 or 1840 before the time of M. Claudet’s <4> improvements. I am much pleased to hear that my original process maintains its ground in your estimation At a late meeting of photographers which I attended, Sir Wm Newton <5> the painter said that he had never been able to succeed by my described process– I hope your garden prospers I recommend you if you have not got it the Taesonia manicata, I never saw any climber that could compare with it for beauty, hanging in festoons and covered with brilliant scarlet flowers, my plant will have borne this season many hundred flowers one being produced in the axil of every lear and about 20 or 30 opening every day.
Believe to remain Yours most truly
1. Penrice Castle and Penrice House, Gower, Glamorgan, 10 mi SW of Swansea: home of Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot.
2. Henry Peter Brougham, Baron of Brougham & Voux (1778–1868), Lord Chancellor.
3. This was a typical exposure in the earliest days of the art, but improvements in the chemistry, largely due to John Frederick Goddard, soon reduced typical portrait exposure times to a matter of seconds.
4. Antoine Françoise Jean Claudet (1797–1867), London; French-born scientist, merchant & photographer, resident in London.
5. Sir William Newton (1785–1869), miniature painter and photographer.