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Document number: 01099
Date: 01 Aug 1823
Postmark: 05 Jan 1823
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: STRANGWAYS William Thomas Horner Fox
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Last updated: 1st September 2003

Melbury <1>

Aug 1

My dear Henry

I have received your letter <2> written half from Tende half from Varese & wish it had been longer. I suppose you have got all mine now. I know some of the plants you mention but never saw Serapias rubra of the size you found it.

Risso’s <3> Animal must be very curious – did you ever see a work by Poli <4> of Naples on the Mollusca Shells &c of the Mediterr <sic> it is very dear & not finished or I should have been tempted to buy it.

If you can spare any of the specimens to Emily <5> she will be much obliged – her mosses &c are in beautiful order.

Almost all my seeds among which are Russian Siberian Italian Ionian Crimean & others some gathered this spring others full two years ago, are come up after being a fortnight in the ground which I consider great good luck. Among them are Pedicularis which are in general difficult to rear I hope they may be like some tall red & straw coloured ones I saw on Mt Cenis – P. comosa I think. Some of my former importations begin to tell now – I am particularly proud of Camp. lactiflora which scarcely anybody has – Orobus lathyroides of which seed is very rare, is come up Dianthus dentosusVeronica incana Statice speciosa & Gmelini. Aquilegia viridiflora. Silene canescens – & all the Mimosas & Acacias & Salvias.

I spent a week lately at Highclere where I saw multitudes of plants new to me – Ld. Carnarvon <6> has raised many varieties on the ideas of Andrew Knight, from the Crinums Amaryllis Pancratium &c. most of which turn out much hardier than the originals – Crinum scabrocapense of which I have from him 6 plants is the handsomest & with a dozen others, is hardy here – he has also many new hybrids of Rhododendrons & Azaleas planted all over his park with almost every tree & shrub that will grow in England it is a place that would please you very much I think. His collection of bulbs is very fine & he has a great many American oaks. the Tulip trees are the largest I ever saw anywhere.

What do you think of Vicia Narbonensis being an established weed in the garden here – I was astonished to see it – & at Moreton <7> Lathyrus alatus is mixed with the Tingitanus. I found in a bog there the other day Utricularia minor – <illegible deletion> smaller & less handsome than U. <illegible deletion> vulgaris which I take to be yours of Nice & which I found once at Petersbg do you know Narthecium ossifragum which grew with it it is one of our most elegant flowers. They talk of a new Campanula discovered lately in Cornwall with leaves like the C. hederacea & stalk & flowers of C. rapunculoides. The Astragalus I found at Sarepta is going to flower I think it will turn out A. subulatus. You remember how rare our Lychnis dioica fl. ros. was in Italy – I find the Fl. T. Caucas. <8> calls it boldly Lychnis alba – & says varietas rosea purpurea of which others talk, in regionibus de quibus sermonem Jacimus, nusquam occurrit. <9> It is a delightful book whenever the author comes to a difficulty, he says coolly, characteres eruant alii <10> – & leaves it entirely to you. He seems to have got something very near the Rhinanthus Elephas in the Caucasus – he places our R.C. Galli in a separate genus Alectorolophus. I am sorry I cannot give you a Supplementum I find it was previously engaged to make up the set here. The weather is worse than ever nothing but squalls of driving fogs & rain tho they talk of having had some hot weather in May about the time we left Rome. I hear exactly the same account from Constantinople where the usual May summer has been succeeded by the equally regular May winter – I want to know your plans & those of all your family I stay till the end of Sepr certain & want to know when I may see you – Charlotte Talbot <11> they say is better – still at Cheltenham – I found O. anthropophosa & militaris I think at Fontainebleau –

Yr Aff


Do you know Lathyrus tuberosus? I am pretty sure it was that I found once & took it for L. coccineusI enclose a few seeds for you to give away

Henry Talbot Esqr
Poste restante
Varese <12>


1. Letter not located.

2. Melbury, Dorset: one of the Fox Strangways family homes; WHFT was born there.

3. Antonio Risso (1777–1845) Ichthyologie de Nice, ou Histoire naturelle des poissons du département des Alpes Maritimes (Paris: F. Schoell, 1810).

4. Possibly Giuseppe Saverio Poli (1746–1825), naturalist.

5. Amelia ‘Emily’ Matilda Murray (1795–1884), author.

6. Henry George Herbert, 2nd Earl of Carnarvon (1772–1833). He was the father of Lord Porchester who is mentioned passim in the Correspondence. Highclere in Hampshire was the family seat.

7. Moreton, Dorset: home of the Frampton family.

8. Friedrich August, Freiherr Marschall von Bieberstein (1768–1826) Flora taurico-caucasica exhibens stirpes phænogamas in Chersoneso Taurica et regionibus caucasicis sponte crescentes (Charkov: 1808, 1819).

9. The purple variety of which others speak, occurs nowhere in the areas spoken of by Jacimus.

10. May other characters/characteristics emerge.

11. Charlotte Louisa 'Charry' Traherne, née Talbot (1800–1880), WHFT’s cousin.

12. Readdressed in another hand.