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Document number: 6116
Date: 01 Mar 1848
Recipient: DAFFORNE James
Author: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Last updated: 4th October 2013

Editor of the Art Union<1>

Lacock Abbey
1 March/ 48


The letter I had from you this morning<2> is altogether a mistake– I collect from your letter that Mr S. C. Hall is no longer Editor,<3> else I assure the mistake would not have occurred. I have never received any payment for seven thousand plates supplied to Mr S. C. Hall,<4> but he offered to make me some compensation for that heavy expence by inserting any advertisement that I might wish, gratuitously, which might have done with enough, had he continued to do so occasionally for a longer period, but he soon left off doing so – If payment is now asked for those advertisements, contrary to our agreement, I must of course expect payment for the plates, the expence of which is many times greater, and in fact cannot be estimated at less than a hundred pounds –

I am Sir Yours Truly
H. F. Talbot


1. James Dafforne was in fact the art critic but functioned as the assistant to the editor since the beginning of the journal.

2. See Doc. No: 06115, written the day before on 29 February of this leap year.

3. Samuel Carter Hall (1800-1889)in fact remained as editor from 1839-1880, with Dafforne as his assistant. However, by 1848 he was sole proprietor and was struggling financially, and allowed the London publisher George Virtue to become part owner. It was undoubtedly this change that led to them chasing old account. The following year, Virtue changed the name to The Art Journal.

4. He was referring to a project more than a year before for The Art-Union Monthly Journal of the Fine Arts and the Arts, Decorative, Ornamental (launched in 1839, the same year as photography). It was a lavishly illustrated journal that included many demonstration pieces. Hall originally estimated that he would need 4000 or 5000 prints, but in the end 7000 were required. An original mounted Talbotype was bound in each copy of the June 1846 Art-Union, v. 8 no. 91, facing p. 143. Since each print had to spend some time in the sun under the negative, Henneman pressed every available negative into service, leading to a great variety in different copies of the journal. Hall must have heard from some skeptical artists, for he felt compelled to explain in the next issue that the prints 'were taken from the actual objects they represent; they were, strictly, copies from NATURE; in no case had a print been made use of for the purpose of transfer' - 'The Application of the Talbotype', The Art-Union, July 1846, p. 195. The final effect of this effort was costly to WHFT, both in out of pocket expenses and in reputation. The production of so many prints in such a short time span with the approach of winter suffered from a paucity of sunshine and Henneman's inability to supply (and afford) sufficient warm water for adequate washing. Many of the prints began fading almost straight away, and this fiasco was one of the factors that led WHFT to abandon printing with silver in favour of his photographic engraving and later photoglyphic engraving, both expressed through time-tested printer's ink.

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