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Document number: 4945
Date: 20 Feb 1844
Recipient: BABBAGE Charles
Author: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Collection: British Library, London - Dept of Manuscripts
Collection number: Add MS 37193 f22
Last updated: 25th February 2010

31 Sackville St <1>
20th Feb. /44

Dear Babbage

I was sorry not to find you at home today. I left at your house 5 Calotypes in case you like to show them at your Saturday's réunion - the subjects are
Exterior of Queen's Coll: Oxford <2>
Interior quadrangle of University Coll: do <3>
Boulevards of Paris <4>
facsimile of old book in my library. <5>
Arch at Fontainbleau, done by my methods; by a French artist <6>

Yours very truly
H. F. Talbot

I shall not be able to come to you on Saturday, leaving Town tomorrow.

all from nature.

C. Babbage Esq.
1 Dorset St
Manchester Square


1. 31 Sackville Street, London residence of the Feildings, often used as a London base by WHFT.

2. WHFT photographed Queens College, Oxford many times. An example representative of these photographs can be seen in Larry J. Schaaf, The Photographic Art of William Henry Fox Talbot (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000), p. 154.

3. WHFT made many photographs of several different quads in University College, none of which have been published.

4. Possibly the same image shown in Larry J. Schaaf, The Photographic Art of William Henry Fox Talbot (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000), p. 160.

5. The most famous of these facsimiles was printed in WHFT, The Pencil of Nature (London: Longman, Brown, Green, & Longmans, June 1844-April 1846 [issued in six fascicles]). See Larry J. Schaaf, Sun Pictures Three: The Harold White Collection (New York: Hans P. Kraus, 1987), pp. 70-71.

6. This image, inscribed 'Se Ce', is attributed to Hugues Antoine Joseph Eugène Maret, Marquis de Bassano (1806-1889), photographic entrepreneur, Paris. The negative of this image [ Schaaf 3497] is held at the NMeM, Bradford (1937-2353) and at least 6 known prints survive. The 'Société Calotypique', as it was referred to in the correspondence, or sometimes 'Société Calotype,' was established by Bassano in 1843. WHFT ceded the French patent for the Calotype for ten years to Bassano, and while no official paper has been found on the business, a group of artists assembled to learn the art of the Calotype from WHFT and Nicholaas Henneman. It all ended badly. For more on this subject, see Nancy Keeler, 'Inventors and Entrepreneurs', History of Photography, v. 26 no.1, Spring 2002, pp. 26-33. Examples of their output can be seen in Larry J. Schaaf, Sun Pictures Catalogue Fifteen: From Talbot to Turner (New York: Hans P. Kraus, Jr., 2006), pp. 34-37.