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Document number: 4332
Date: 14 Sep 1841
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: CHILDREN John George
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: acc no 28053
Collection 2: Private
Collection 2 number: FT-11410 (envelope only)
Last updated: 31st December 2019

Torrington Square
14th Sepr 1841

My dear Sir.

Your kind Letter <1> followed me to the Isle of Wight, and on my return to Town I found the Calotypes safe on my table -<2> I do not know how to express my thanks, in adequate terms, for your obliging and prompt compliance with my request. The Specimens you have so liberally sent me, are beautiful, and when we return into Kent, My Daughter & I shall set to work in good earnest 'till we completely succeed in practising your invaluable process - I am also extremely obliged to you for introducing me to Mr Collen<3> - from whom I have received much valuable information & I have sat to him for my Calotype this morning. I have also ordered a Camera for Mrs Atkins from Ross -<4> so I hope on our return from Leicestershire (where I am to join them tomorrow) about the middle of next Month, we shall find all ready to commence operations - For the traveller, your process is beyond all price, and in my estimation your Calotype Portraits, are incomparably superior to those by the Daguerotype [sic].

I am utterly at a loss to comprehend the motives that actuated [sic] the Council of the R.S.<5> in their late decisions concerning your, & Sir D. Brewster's communications -<6> Altho I am quite ready to admit the force of our Motto, 'Nullius in verba',<7> I still do think that there are some names in science - (amongst which Brewster's & your's [sic] have high claim to place) - which are in themselves sufficient guarantee, for the value of any thing they may owners may think worthy of communicating to the Phil. Trans. This is not flattery - but as true as that I am ever

My dear Sir, faithfully Your's [sic]
John Geo. Children.

[envelope, in a private collection]
Henry Fox Talbot Esqre
Lacock Abbey


1. Letter not located.

2. Children would have shared these with his daughter, Anna Atkins. After her death her belongings were dispersed and the examples sent by WHFT have never been traced.

3. Henry Collen (1800-1879), miniature painter, calotypist & spiritualist, London.

4. Andrew Ross (1798-1859), London optician & author.

5. Royal Society Council (P M Roget).

6. Sir David Brewster (1781-1868), Scottish scientist & journalist.

7. 'Do not trust in words', or 'Words are not enough'.