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Document number: 4329
Date: 13 Sep 1841
Dating: 1st or 13th? - 1841 confirmed by description of photographs
Watermark: 1841
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: TALBOT Mary Thereza
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA41-55
Last updated: 17th April 2010

Lanelay <1>
Sepr 13

My dear Henry

I am quite charmed with Wrights portrait <2> & I think your groupes are very good tho’ Kits <3> face is a failure his figure is so natural lolling on the grass, at his wife’s feet of course, tho’ I cannot see her likeness I know her gown? I conclude the other Lady is your wife, the side figure is very like but not the full face in my opinion. <4>

I shall be most grateful at your leisure to have a view of Carclew <5> why did you not have the blinds pulled up? the Chapel is a very pretty picture but the Gardeners house too natural! it is so completely covered with creepers. <6>

Pray bestow one of your table covered with ornaments (& 2 lumps of sugar on the breakfast table <7>) the house in Oxford is very good indeed. <8> I am quite puzzled about the other two portraits you sent I must confess they look older than any one I should have guessed them for.

I hope all are well at Lacock as you do not mention any one give my love to my Cousins all and Aunt <9> if you please.

Mamma <10> is pretty well she has still some remains of her Rheumatic attack & I am bent on getting her to try Bath this Autumn. Jane <11> has great thoughts of trying it too by & bye. she is still in London.

Mr Nicholl <12> has been appointed Judge Advocate in the handsomest manner by Sir Robt Peel <13> it is very gratifying to find him sought after to fill such a high situation his usefulness and cleverness are remembered by those who have known how much he can work & will work for the public

he was quite surprised as such a thing never entered his head & no place had been sought by him or his friends for him. he came down on Friday to see his Constituents & will be re-elected this week. –

I grudge sending Wrights portrait & am afraid it is greedy to ask for one for us but Mamma is just as fond of it!

I am your affate
Coz Mary


1. Alternative spelling of Llanely, or Lanely, Glamorganshire: home of Lady Mary Cole and Mary Thereza Talbot.

2. This image is possibly in the Getty Museum (84.xm.150.29), Schaaf 1552.

3. Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot (1803–1890), immensely wealthy landowner, mathematician & politician; WHFT’s Welsh cousin.

4. Possibly a portrait of two women with parasols, man reclining, below the Oriel Window at Lacock. See NMeM, Bradford, 1937–2646, Schaaf 2050.

5. Carclew, Cornwall, 3 mi N of Penryn: seat of Sir Charles Lemon.

6. Probably a view of the side, NMeM, Bradford, 1937–3067, Schaaf 2541. For Brewster’s copy (now in the Getty) see Graham Smith, Disciples of Light: Photographs in the Brewster Album (Malibu: The J Paul Getty Museum, 1990, p. 149). For an image of the chapel see Smithsonian 1995.206.76, Schaaf 2611, reproduced in Gail Buckland, Fox Talbot and the Invention of Photography (Boston: David R. Godine, 1980), p. 142. There are several unidentified WHFT images of buildings with creepers.

7. Several images match the description of this, but for the most likely one; see NMeM, Bradford, 1937–2516, Schaaf 2616, dated 6th September 1841, reproduced in John Ward and Sara Stevenson, The Scientific Art of William Henry Fox Talbot and David Octavius Hill with Robert Adamson (Edinburgh: Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 1986), p. 25.

8. The most likely image is Opposite the Angel Inn, NMeM, Bradford, 1937–1600, Schaaf 1444, reproduced in Larry J Schaaf, In Focus: William Henry Fox Talbot (Santa Monica California: The J Paul Getty Museum, 2002), p. 46.

9. Ela Theresa Talbot (1835–1893), WHFT’s 1st daughter; Rosamond Constance ‘Monie’ Talbot (1837–1906), artist & WHFT’s 2nd daughter; Matilda Caroline Gilchrist-Clark, ‘Tilly’, née Talbot (1839–1927), WHFT’s 3rd daughter; and Constance Talbot, née Mundy (1811–1880), WHFT’s wife.

10. Lady Mary Lucy Cole, née Strangways, first m. Talbot (1776–1855), WHFT’s aunt.

11. Jane Harriot Nicholl, née Talbot (1796–1874).

12. Dr John Nicholl (1797–1853), MP.

13. Sir Robert Peel (1788–1850), Prime Minister.