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Document number: 06423
Date: Fri 26 May 1854
Dating: year from calendar
Recipient: TALBOT Constance, née Mundy
Author: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA51-021
Last updated: 1st September 2003


Friday May 26

My Dear Constance

I am unable to leave Town today, but I hope to be able to come tomorrow without fail.

We had a grand field day today in the Court of Chancery, & were completely successful against a defendant of the name of Henderson who has been infringing my patent by taking portraits in Regent Street <1> – He resisted, and the case was argued for nearly 3 hours before Vice Chancellor Wood <2> – My counsel Mr Rolt <3> displayed uncommon ability, and the affidavits which Sir David Brewster and Sir John Herschel had made in my favour, <4> being read, demolished the affidavits of my opponents, as heavy artillery does the weak defences of the Chinese – Such however is the anomalous state of British Law, that the defendant Henderson may appeal if he pleases to the Court of Common Pleas and have another trial with a Jury to decide upon it. <5> We are uncertain whether he will do so or not, and some weeks will probably elapse before we know. In the meanwhile we advertise this success in the newspapers as we are of course at liberty to do, and the enemy will probably take Counsel’s advice as to what they are to do.

Good bye
Your affte


I send a kiss to Ela <6> I heard from Matilda <7> yesterday with a message to you that she had received your letter describing your uncomfortable voyage in the Margate steamer.


1. This was the case against James Henderson, photographer, London.

2. William Page Wood, Baron Hatherley (1801–1881), appointed Vice Chancellor in 1853.

3. Possibly Sir John Rolt (1804–1871), barrister and Q.C.

4. Both Sir John Frederick William Herschel (1792–1871), astronomer & scientist, and Sir David Brewster (1781–1868), Scottish scientist & journalist, swore affidavits on WHFT’s behalf; they were later published in Notes and Queries, 8 July 1854, pp.35–36.

5. Henderson did appeal, and in 1856, won a decision from the court, see Doc. No: 07248.

6. Ela Theresa Talbot (1835–1893), WHFT’s 1st daughter.

7. Matilda Caroline Gilchrist-Clark, ‘Tilly’, née Talbot (1839–1927), WHFT’s 3rd daughter.