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Document number: 07090
Date: 10 Dec 1854
Recipient: STORY-MASKELYNE Nevil
Author: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Last updated: 13th July 2010

Mr Maskelyne

Dec 10

Dr Sir

I thought the negative executed by your Assistant <1> Very good – My impression is, that you should produce it & say who made it & how it was made, which you would be allowed to do, if your assistant were in Court <2> and prepared to give similar evidence if called upon – Thus his imperfect English would be no detriment.

Pray lend me Griffins Scientific Miscellany. 1841. <3> Mr Hunt <4> now says that previous to 1841 viz. in 1840 he was acquainted with the process of developing the invisible image, or a Similar one to mine. It will be important to show from his own testimony that such process was new to him in 1841.

Can you send me the book to the Athenæum? <5>

Yours truly
H. F. Talbot


1. Carl [Karl] Ewald, Ph.D. See Doc. No: 07072 and Doc. No: 07089.

2. Story-Maskelyne had been asked to be a witness for Talbot [see Doc. No: 06991] in the trial concerning his patent, in which he sought to prove that he had invented the Calotype process and that the collodion process was covered by the Calotype patent, and thus not a new invention. The trial took place from Monday 18 to Wednesday 20 December 1854. In 1852 Talbot had thrown open his photographic patents as far as amateur photography was concerned, though he retained them regarding professional portraiture. He won several injunctions against professional portrait-photographers who infringed them, and in 1854 he sought to obtain one against Martin Laroche, a professional photographer who took portraits using the collodion process, who, he claimed, had infringed two important elements of his patents. He then found himself having to defend his right to his patents and even his claim to the invention of photography on paper. [For an account of the patent cases, and the opposition to Talbot’s patents, see H. J. P. Arnold, William Henry Fox Talbot: Pioneer of Photography and Man of Science (London: Hutchinson Benham, 1977), pp. 198–209.]

3. John Joseph Griffin (1802–77), The Scientific Miscellany: an Occasional Publication of Treatises relating to Chemistry and Other Experimental Sciences, Glasgow: Richard Griffin & Co., 1841). See Doc. No: 07086 and Doc. No: 04200.

4. Robert Hunt (1807–1887), scientist & photographic historian.

5. The Athenæum and (London) Literary Chronicle, London.