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Document number: 3646
Date: 20 Feb 1838
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: CHILDREN John George
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number: envelope 20121
Collection number historic: LA38-4
Last updated: 14th February 2012

British Museum
20th Feby 1838

My dear Sir

I am sure you will forgive my apparent inattention in not having long since acknowledged the receipt of the Drawings of the Circular Crystals, <1> which you were so good as to send me & also your second kind Letter, – when I tell you that for the last 12 days the state of Mrs Children’s <2> Health has been so alarming that my anxiety on her account has almost driven every thing else out of my head. Altho’ she still continues in a very precarious state, I will not longer defer thanking you for your very kind & interesting present and communications, especially as through the kindness of Sir Philip Egerton, <3> I can do so without putting you to the expence of postage – The drawings are very beautiful – & I hope soon to succeed in obtaining crystals that will prove their accuracy – Garden has prepared some of the phosphoro-boracic salt prisms as you direct, but, for the reasons I have given above, I have not yet been able to try its effect under the polarising microscope – I hope you will pardon my having transferred the drawings to another person, – & not, therefore, impute an indifference to me, as to their value and interest, which I am indeed most far from feeling – The fact is they were shewn to the Duke of Sussex, & H.R.H. <4> was so much delighted with them, that I had them put up together in a little cover, & presented them to Him – He was very much pleased with the present. – and [sic] they formed part of the exhibition at his Soirée at the Palace on Saturday evening – If you make any farther progress with the Crystals, or on any other branch of your [illegible] valuable researches I hope you will communicate them to the R.S. – I will let you know how my crystals perform – Our winter seems to have recommenced for the third time – it is most unfortunate weather for my poor invalid!

I am ever My dear Sir, faithfully Your’s [sic]
John Geo. Children

If Mr C. Curtis <5> be still with you pray make my Compts to Him – He is a very clever artist. –

H. F. Talbott [sic] Esqr
Lacock Abbey


1. WHFT, ‘On the Optical Phenomena of certain Crystals’, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, v.127 part 1, 1837, pp. 25–35. Constance Talbot, née Mundy (1811–1880), WHFT’s wife made some copies of these drawings. [See Doc. No: 03639].

2. His 3rd wife, Eliza, née Towers, whom he had married in 1819, was to die in the autumn of 1839.

3. Possibly Sir Philip de Malpas Grey Egerton (1806–1881), palaeontologist.

4. Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex (1773–1843), president of the Royal Society (1830–1838), and Victoria (1819–1901), Queen of the United Kingdom (1837–1901), Empress of India (1876–1901).

5. Charles M. Curtis who illustrated the early volumes of J. F. Stephens’s Illustrations of British Entomology.

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