link to Talbot Project home page link to De Montfort University home page link to Glasgow University home page
Project Director: Professor Larry J Schaaf

Back to the letter search >

Document number: 06958
Date: 16 May 1854
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: HERSCHEL John Frederick William
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA54-22
Last updated: 13th May 2010

Harley St <1>
May 16/54

My dear Sir

I am quite ready to sign an affidavit to the effect that I believe you to have been the inventor of the Kalotype process <2> as described by you – ie. the subsequent excitement by Gallic acid – and of a great many other excellent things – but as regards the Collodium <3> – until I know more precisely what part in that process you do claim as inventor I must reserve my conclusion

Au reste <4> I have not followed much of late years the developments of the several improvements – many of them very effective ones having been altogether distracted from scientific or any similar pursuits by the duties of my office <5> which for the last 2 years have been all-absorbing.

I remain Dear sir Yours Try
JFW Herschel


1. London.

2. This affidavit, made 25 May 1854 [Public Record Office, London C31/1048,733], was to be used in the court case Talbot v. Henderson, attesting to the fact of WHFT’s invention and patent of the calotype.

3. Herschel often used this alternative spelling for collodion.

4. moreover; besides

5. Master of the Mint.