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Document number: 07465
Date: 09 Oct 1857
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: BOLTON John Henry
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: Acc no 20617 (envelope only)
Last updated: 27th January 2015

Lincoln’s Inn <1>
9th October 1857

My dear Sir

I have not been able to see Mr Loxley <2> until to-day –

The account he gives me of the position of the Defendants is this –

The Company <3> is broken up and the proprietorship rests between Mr Carlton <4> of Manchr & Mr Fenton <5>– but a large amt of capital £3000 (perhaps the whole) has been expended and Mr Carlton is the only substantial partner remaining – it is even doubtful whether Mr Fenton will not withdraw altogether – Mr Carltons view of the matter is that he is weary of the losses already sustained but more weary of the unexpected difficulties & litigation in which he finds himself surrounded – That he has made up his mind not to pursue the business any further as a commercial speculation unless he can rid himself of all that is extraneous to the vigorous prosecution of the manufacture industrially – He has separated himself from his partners, (with much trouble & expense from Dallas <6>) and before a farthing of profits can be realised and before he could effectively controul the expenditure, the capital is absorbed –

His determination therefore is, not to lay out any more money, unless he can come to an accomodation with You: so that if the offer made be not accepted, he will shut up the Establishment & close the works, putting the Patent <7> on the shelf –

I have full reliance upon the bona fides <8> of this communication and am of opinion that we should accept the offer as made (being their No 2) with the exception of making the License an exclusive one.

I admit that the prospect of the continuation of the manufacture is an additional makeweight with me in recommending the above upon the supposition that You will be sorry to see it dropped.

Believe me to remain My dear Sir Ever Your’s faithfully
J. H Bolton

NB. I learn that very little is doing at the Establishment & that they don’t go on well with Pretsch.

Wm Hy. Fox Talbot Esqr.
Lacock Abbey


1. One of the four Inns of Court, the ‘colleges’ of barristers at the English Bar. Bolton had his chambers [lawyer’s offices and, at the time, living-quarters also] there.

2. Of Fry and Loxley, solicitors for the proprietors of the Patent Photogalvanographic Company with whom Talbot was in dispute regarding his patent for photographic engraving. See Doc. No: 07807. The other partner, Peter Wickens Fry, had been a prominent opponent of Talbot’s photographic patents.

3. The Patent Photo-Galvanographic Company (commonly, The Photogalvanographic Company) was based on the work of Paul Pretsch (1808–1873), Austrian photographer & inventor and former Manager of the Imperial Printing Establishment in Vienna. Located in Holloway Road, Islington, London, from 1856-1857, Pretsch took over as manager and Roger Fenton (1819–1869), photographer & lawyer, was a partner and their chief photographer. Starting in late 1856, they published a serial portfolio, Photographic Art Treasures, or Nature and Art Illustrated by Art and Nature, illustratated with photogalvanographs derived from several photographer's works. Photogalvanography was uncomfortably closely based on elements of WHFT’s patented 1852 Photographic Engraving but, unlike Talbot, the plates were heavily retouched by hand. Compounding the legal objections of Talbot, their former manager, Duncan Campbell Dallas, set up a competing company to produce the Dallastype. The company collapsed and near the end of 1860 Pretsch, out of money, allowed his patent to lapse. A public appeal was launched in 1861 to assist him but he returned to Vienna in 1863 in ill health, going back to the Imperial Printing Establishment, but finally succumbing to cholera.

4. James Carlton, a muslin manufacturer who took on George Walker as a partner. In addition to his commercial success (or perhaps as a foundation of it) "there has perhaps not been a Manchester merchant whose character for honour and integrity stood higher than James Carlton's": Josiah Thomas Slugg, Reminiscences of Manchster Fifty Years Ago (Manchester: A. E. Cornish, 1881), p. 27. See Doc. No: 07437.

5. Roger Fenton (1819–1869), photographer & lawyer.

6. See Doc. No: 07399.

7. Paul Pretsch (1808–1873), Austrian photographer & inventor; founder of the Photogalvanographic Company had patented a process for photographic engraving that was broadly similar to that of Talbot [ Improvements in the Art of Engraving, Patent No. 565 of 29 October 1852] in that the first part used gelatine and potassium bichromate; Pretsch’s second part, however, used the electrotype process.

8. good faith