link to Talbot Project home page link to De Montfort University home page link to Glasgow University home page
Project Director: Professor Larry J Schaaf

Back to the letter search >

Result number 3 of 4:   < Back     Back to results list   Next >  

Document number: 3777
Date: 29 Jan 1839
Recipient: ARAGO Dominique François Jean
Author: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Collection: PUBLISHED
Last updated: 28th May 2013

[The original letter has not been traced. This text was reproduced in Comptes Rendus hebdomadaires des séances de l' de l'Académie des Sciences, v. 8 no. 5, 4 February 1839, p. 171. A short discussion follows in the text, relating the earlier experiments by Thomas Wedgwood (1771-1805) and Joseph Nicéphore Niépce (1765-1833). This is presumably the same letter as sent to Jean Baptiste Biot - see Doc. No: 09189. Both of these letters may well have duplicated the more complete text found in WHFT's letter to Alexander von Humboldt - see Doc. No: 03778.]

le 29 janvier 1839.


"Dans peu de jours j'aurai l'honneur d'adresser à l'Académie des Sciences, une réclamation formelle de priorité, de l'invention annoncée par M. Daguerre <1> dans ses deux points principaux:

"(1.) La fixation des images de la camera obscura

"(2.) La conservation subséquente de ces images, de sorte qu'elles peuvent soutenir le plein soleil.

"Très occupé, en ce moment, d'un Mémoire sur ce sujet, dont la lecture sera faite à la Société royale après-demain, <2> je me borne à vous prier d'agréer l'expression de toute ma considération.

"H. F. Talbot,
"Membre de la Société royale de Londres."


29 January 1839


In but a few days I shall have the honour of addressing to the Académie des Sciences, a formal claim of precedence, of the invention announced by Mr Daguerre in its two principal points:

(1.) The fixing of the images of the camera obscura

(2.) The subsequent preservation of these images, in such a way as they might withstand direct sunlight.

Most occupied, at the moment, with a work on this subject, which will be read at the Royal Society the day after tomorrow, I shall content myself with asking you to accept the expression of all my consideration.

H.F. Talbot
Member of the Royal Society of London.


1. Arago announced, at the meeting of 7th January 1839, the invention of the daguerreotype by Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre (1787-1851), French artist, showman & inventor. See 'Fixation des images qui se forment au foyer d'une chambre obscure', Comptes Rendus hebdomadaires des séances de l' de l'Académie des Sciences, v. 8 no. 1, 7 January 1839, pp. 4-7.

2. WHFT, 'Some Account of the Art of Photogenic Drawing, or the Process by which Natural Objects may be made to Delineate Themselves without the Aid of the Artist's pencil', read before the Royal Society 31 January 1839, a report of which was published in Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, v. 4 no. 36, pp. 120-121.

Result number 3 of 4:   < Back     Back to results list   Next >