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Document number: 5924
Date: 20 Apr 1847
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: HENNEMAN Nicolaas
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA47-40
Last updated: 23rd February 2012

Reading <1>
Aprill 20/ 47


I did not receive a letter from you requesting me to come to Town – Harison <2> told me something about it but I expected to hear from you before I came, I should have come up to day but the celebrated Authoress, Miss Mitford, <3> came to day and I got her to sit for her portrait, wish came out very fine considering her age, I think the negative is worth at least 25 pounds. She begged of me to take her dog, (well knowing in most all her works) to please her I took him, not of course expecting he would remain quit and more over bing all of one collour (Dark brown) but wonderful to State he remained for 4 minutes as still as if he was dead, so I got a fine negative of him also,<4> I took about 20 portraits to day of diferent people and was very sucsesful on the whole – Mr Lovejoy<5> told me he can get me at least 50 sitters if I would open here for a fortnight before going to London and the Editor of the Mercury <6> (whose portrait I likewise took) promised me a paragraph in his paper if I could do it, I told him I would see you to morrow and mention the Subject to you, I will come to morrow as soon as I possible can –

your Obidient Servant
N: Henneman


1. Nicolaas Henneman (1813–1898), born in Holland and trained in Paris, was WHFT’s valet who emerged as his assistant in photography. Henneman set up his Calotype works at 8 Russell Terrace, Reading. Commencing operations at the start of 1844, it functioned both as a photographic studio and as a photographic printing works and continued through late 1846, at which time Henneman transferred his operations to London. Although Talbot supported Henneman through custom, such as printing the plates for The Pencil of Nature, and loans, it was always Henneman's operation. His business cards made no mention of "The Reading Establishment," the designation that it is popularly given today; the only contemporary use of that title seemed to be by Benjamin Cowderoy - see Doc. No: 05690.

2. David Harrison, sometime assistant to Nicolaas Henneman in London.

3. Mary Russell Mitford (1786–1855) poet and novelist. As to her age, she was 61 at the time, and photography was often criticised for its inability to flatter the sitter. The negative is not known to have survived, but prints are LA916, British Library Fox Talbot Collection, and 1937-3591, NMeM; Schaaf 4589.

4. The negative survives in the British Library Fox Talbot Collection, LA3215,Schaaf 1346; prints are LA918 and other collections.

5. George Lovejoy (1808–1883), bookseller, Reading.

6. Reading Mercury

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