Lacock Abbey, Chippenham
11 Septr 1844
I send you Moore’s<1> portrait in another envelope, it is very like him when in a serious mood – Please to return it – I also send for your acceptance a few photographic trifles, such as can be sent by post. They are from nature, except one which is from a print
Two are views of Oxford, as you will see. I thank you for your offer of reviewing the Pencil of Nature,<2> but would it not be better to do so in term time? At present half your readers are dispersed and would not see the notice –
Pray be so good as to communicate my thanks to Mr Drury of Shotover Park<2> for his very hospitable invitation – I fear I could hardly avail myself of it being so seldom in Oxford and so much occupied during the short time of my stay
I remain Dear Sir Yours very truly
H. F. Talbot
1. Probably Thomas Moore (1780–1852), Irish poet.
2. WHFT, The Pencil of Nature (London: Longman, Brown, Green, & Longmans, June 1844–April 1846 [issued in six fascicles]).
3. George Vandeput Drury, Bart. (1777-1849), formerly of the East India Company and a critical patron of the Pre-Raphaelite painter, John Everett Millais. Shotover House was 4 miles East of Oxford, and where Milton married his first wife. A tangential connection of Drury to photography was recalled by Millais’s son: “Here, too, in 1846 he made the acquaintance of Mr. Drury, of Shotover, a quaint, benevolent old gentleman, who loved the fine arts and everything connected with them. He made a great pet of the young artist, and insisted on his accompanying him wherever he went in his pony-cart, for being a huge man and a martyr to gout he could not move without his ‘trap.’ … Nothing could exceed his kindness to Millais…. William Millais tells us something of Mr. Drury and his peculiar ways. He says, ‘My brother often went to stay at Shotover Park, and on one occasion I was invited there too for a fortnight. There was no one with Mr. Drury in the huge mansion except his niece…. It is not easy to forget my first impressions there. I was informed by a stately old butler that 'Master Millais was engaged just then with the master.' I entered a darkened room, where the old invalid could just be seen sitting up in bed with a tallow dip in one hand and a square of glass in the other. He was moving the flame of the candle all over the under side of the greased surface of the glass, which was gradually becoming black with smoke; on this sheet of glass my brother had drawn figures of angels in all positions. I had evidently entered at the supreme moment, for our host, catching sight of me, cried out, 'Ah, ah! we've got it; you are just in time to see the New Jerusalem.' Upon examination, there really was a certain fascination about the appearance of this extraordinary 'Kalotype,' as he called it, but which might more appropriately have been called a 'tallow-type.' The dear old man was under the morbid impression that all his relatives wished him dead, so as to inherit his fortune, and for this reason he made a large 'Kalotype' of the subject, which was most ghastly. I cannot describe it exactly, but remember that a coffin occupied the centre of the picture, whilst a regular scrimmage was going on all round. This design was carried out by my brother under his directions.” John Guille Millais, The Life and Letters of Sir John Everett Millais (London: Methuen & Co., 1899), v. 1, pp. 36-38.