St Vincent <1>
10th Febry 1854
For many years I have been practising the Daguerreotype and I believe my portraits are equal to any, – altho’ perhaps I am not as skilful as many whose whole time is devoted to the Art, yet the climate in the W Indies affords opportunities & advantages not possessed in England-<2>
Having made up my mind to turn my attention to your valuable & beautiful discoveries in Photography upon paper, <3> I shall be glad if you will grant me your license to take portraits for sale, in the West Indies – I beg to suggest your receiving from me a percentage on all portraits sold, and I will give you the most respectable references either here on in Trinidad, to satisfy you that any arrangement made with me will be faithfully carried out; should this proposal not meet your approbation, you will be good enough to make me acquainted with your terms. I hope your license will not be very expensive, or it will prove a prohibition, in the present state of W I affairs I cannot expect to do very much –
I shall also feel thankful for any information relative to instruments, or the manipulation, not to be gathered from Hunts manual of Photography–<4> I have ordered from Messrs Griffen & Co <5> a full size Camera, prepared paper, chemicals if necessary, & given them the power to add anything required which I may have omitted
I leave this for Trinidad in a few days. Please address me at your earliest convenience
Surgeon Dentist &c
I am Sir Your Obt Sert
To.H. F. Talbot Esq F R S &c
H. F. Talbot Esq F R S &c
Greta Bank <6>
1. West Indies.
2. The effects of different qualities of light and extremes of temperatures in foreign climates on photographic materials was not yet well understood.
3. The calotype.
4. Robert Hunt (1807–1887), scientist & photographic historian, A Manual of Photography (London: John Joseph Griffin, 1853).
5. John Joseph Griffin, Chemical & Philosophical Instrument Manufacturer, Mineralogist & Optician, 119 & 120 Bunhill Row, London.
6. Readdressed in another hand.