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Document number: 3880
Date: Tue 21 May 1839
Postmark: 21 May 1839
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: TALBOT Constance, née Mundy
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA39-39
Last updated: 1st November 2010

Lacock Abbey
Tuesday May 21

My dear Henry

I don’t the least expect you on Thursday, though you thought so perhaps at the moment you were writing to me on Sat.–you have perhaps forgotten that one of the days of invitation from the President of the Linnean Society <1> is the following day (Friday). I have just been reading it in the Library Chimney where you left it stuck upon. Yesterday I had a very pleasant drive (with the children <2> & 2 head nurses) to Sloperton, <3> taking Bowden & Spy park <4> on our way. – We were admitted at Sloperton only. Mr Moore <5> talking of going off to London the end of this week. He was quite animated on the subject of the late Ministerial changes & evidently much desirous of a comfortable talk with you about it. He seemed half inclined to send you ‘the Spectator,’ because he said that it expressed exactly his own sentiments, though of course not in language such as he would have chosen– But I believe he decided at last upon not sending it, because he said you wd. be certain to see it in London – I took with me for Mrs Moore <6> views of the Tower & South front but as they are not perfect, (being over fixed) <7> she has promised to give them back as soon as she is supplied with better – She is in very low spirits about her youngest son who has not made the progress they expected in his Indian studies. – She is also frightened almost out of her life by the Chartists & expects them to take possession of Sloperton one of these nights!

I have been labouring hard at the Photographs without much success – for though some of the Pictures were pretty good I spoilt them afterwards with the Iodine. – I ought to have begun my study of the art while you were at hand to assist me in my difficulties – As it is however I shall have gained experience by my unsuccessful attempts & therefore not wholly wasted my time & strength.– I set the Camera today to take my favorite view near the Cauldron, but I believe I failed in getting the right focus, for the outline is sadly indistinct though the general idea is perfect in its resemblance – Yesterday & Saturday were not bright enough for the Camera & Sunday was only bright during the hours of Church & preceeding ones when I was not ready for work

I was sorry to hear from Harriot <8> that Bimbo <9>or William had been unwell had some return of his Richmond attack

Yr affte
Constance –

The three last days have been as warm as Summer again – We are all as well as when you left us – Matilda <10> is going to be vaccinated in a day or two. – I am glad that Mrs Uppington will still be here to preside over it –

H. Fox Talbot Esqre
31 Sackville Street


1. Linnean Society, London.

2. Ela Theresa Talbot (25 Apr 1835 - 25 Apr 1893), WHFT's 1st daughter; Rosamond Constance Talbot (16 Mar 1837 - 7 May 1906), 'Rose'; 'Monie'; artist & WHFT's 2nd daughter; died & buried at San Remo, Italy, with a memorial at Lacock; Matilda Caroline Gilchrist-Clark, née Talbot (25 Feb 1839-1927), 'Tilly', WHFT's 3rd daughter; Charles Henry Talbot, (2 Feb 1842 - 26 Dec 1916), 'Charlie'; 'Tally'; antiquary & WHFT's only son.

3. Sloperton Cottage, Wiltshire, 1 mi E of Lacock: home of Thomas Moore, the Irish poet.

4. Bowden Park, Wiltshire, 1 mi SE of Lacock andSpye Park, Wiltshire, 2 mi SE of Lacock.

5. Thomas Moore (1780–1852), Irish poet.

6. Elizabeth (Bessie) Moore, née Dyke (1783–1865), wife of the poet Thomas Moore.

7. See Doc. No: 03878.

8. Harriot Georgiana Mundy, née Frampton (1806-1886), WHFT’s cousin & sister-in-law.

9. William Henry Edgcumbe, ‘Val’, 4th Earl Mt Edgcumbe (1832–1917), JP & Ld Steward of the Royal Household; WHFT’s nephew ‘Bimbo’.

10. Vaccination against smallpox by exposing the patient to cowpox. First identified as a viable method by Dr Edward Jenner in 1796, this practise remained more of an art than a science throughout much of the 19th c.

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