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Document number: 200
Date: Sun Feb 1840
Dating: related to 06610, 25 Jan 1840
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: EDGCUMBE Ernest Augustus
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Last updated: 11th January 2011

Sunday <1>

Dear Henry

My nieces<2> have been attempting to draw upon smoked glass, but have not been able to fix in any manner the smoke on the glass.<3> I understood you to recommend that varnish should be put over it after it had been smoked, which operation we have been quite unable to effect. You would therefore much oblige me by some further explanation. All attempts have hitherto failed in consequence of the impossibility of keeping an even coat of black.

Caroline & the children <4> are quite well. I cannot boast about myself.

Yr aff


1. February 1840. [See Doc. No: 06610 and Doc. No: 00257].

2. Valletort had five nieces through his sister, Lady Caroline Sophia Edgcumbe (d. 10 April 1824), who was the first wife of Reginald George Macdonald (d. 1873). Emma Hamilla (d. 5 Apr 1852) married Rev. Hon. Alfred Wodehouse on 21 April 1840. Caroline Sophia (d. 16 October 1887) married Hon. Charles Henry Cust on 8 September 1842. Louisa Emily (sometimes Emily Louisa) (d. 1897) married Charles William Marsham on 13 April 1841. The Honorable Flora Isabella Clementina (1822-1899) was Maid of Honor and later Woman of the Bedchamber to Queen Victoria. In 1848, Annie Sarah (sometimes Sarah Anne) married Alfredo Salvatori Ruggioro Andrea, Baron Porceilli di Sant Andrea, a Sicilian nobleman and revolutionary commander.

3. Later, in the hands of Barbizon artists, this artistic process became known as cliché verre. WHFT employed it in 1834. The artist would take a smoked or varnished piece of glass, cut lines through to create the image, and then print this on WHFT's photogenic drawing paper. An example is illustrated in Larry J Schaaf, The Photographic Art of William Henry Fox Talbot (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000), plate 2.

4. Caroline Augusta Edgcumbe, née Feilding, Lady Mt Edgcumbe (1808–1881); WHFT’s half-sister and her children: William Henry Edgcumbe, 4th Earl Mt Edgcumbe (1832-1917), 'Val', JP & Lord Steward of the Royal Household, 'Bimbo'; and Charles Ernest Edgcumbe (1838-1915), JP; WHFT's nephews.


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