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Document number: 6527
Date: 02 Dec 1851
Recipient: LEVESON-GOWER Granville George
Author: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Collection: National Science and Media Museum, Bradford
Collection number: 1937-4994
Last updated: 10th March 2012

[draft:]

Ld G

Dec 2/51

I hope I wd not appr t y unreasble if I suggest, that ye prest state of politicl tumult in Fce. affds an add reasn why ye work undertken by ye R Comrs shdbe execd in England. Surely this is no momt for an inexpced yg man to establish a manufy in Fce. Mr Bingham<1> does not even speak French.

If it shd be finally decided after all to intrust the work to Mr Bingham, (upon such equitable condns as I cd agree to) I would then urge you to have it done by him in the south of England, at some such place as Brighton for example, and we would assist him by lending him a multitude of copying frames and in many other ways- The work would be quicker done in England-

The only advantage of the South France is the brighter sky, but this is more than compensated by the inferiority of in every other requisite point - and the difficulties attending such an enterprise 20,000 copies made in France (adoptg Mr B's estimate of 80 per diem) will take 250 days, say 8 months. The work can could be done in England in 3 months, by my licensees, or by Mr Bingham with their assistance.

Perhaps you are not aware that one requisite will be very large quantities of hot water

You thought that what I sd was not borne out by ye Exht I made from one of Mr Cole's letters did not bear me out I send therefore a copy of ye whole letter. If it bears another interpretn I shall be glad, because on the day he wrote it (Novr 14) it seems he had already promised the sale to Mr B. the after sale of the pictres to the public, whereas I read his letter as reiterating & confirming his promise of it to Mr Henn. He says

The R. Commrs. naturally wish to have ye work done as quickly as is consistent with its being done well. As to speed, I have known Mr Hn make 300 copies in a summer's day- I only state the number from memory at present- But there exists an accelerated process which I discovd some yeas ago, and which would produce the copies at the rate of at least a thousand per diem, which might be adopted on this occasion, [illegible deletion] though hitherto such rapidity has never been required in practice, the common methods sufficing. This method has not been tested [illegible deletion] in one point only viz. whether the copies will keep perfectly good for many years. Experim From theoretical consideratns I shd say that they were more likely to be well fixed than those made by the usual method slow process.

If the Royal Comers would take not object to this plan being adopted, the work would be very speedily done. and the plates might then be kept for a

As my meang appy I hope misunderstd in one respect, I beg to explain that I disclaimd any royalty on this work but of course on unders supposn wh of that one or other of my licsees were to execute the work. It had never occurred to me that it cd be otherwise. The royalty so relinqusd would be 500 or 600 on the supposg the whole cost of the plates from 2000 to 2400

But if the profits of the work are to be given to a stranger, I do not then disclaim the royalty; why shd I?- On the conty I claim it, only in the shape of copies of the work itself rather than of money, which arrangt I shd think must be far more agreeable to all parties- I am truly sorry to give yr Lshp so much trouble on this subject, but you will belve when I assure y that I am most unwittingly drawn into this controversy & only in self defense.

[expanded version:]

2 December 1851

Lord Granville

I hope I would not appear to you unreasonable if I suggest, that the present state of political tumult in France affords an additional reason why the work undertaken by the Royal Commissioners should be executed in England. Surely this is no moment for an inexperienced young man to establish a manufactury in France. Mr Bingham does not even speak French.

If it should be finally decided after all to intrust the work to Mr Bingham, (upon such equitable conditions as I could agree to) I would then urge you to have it done by him in the south of England, at some such place as Brighton for example, and we would assist him by lending him a multitude of copying frames and in many other ways. The work would be quicker done in England.

The only advantage of the South [of] France is the brighter sky, but this is more than compensated by the inferiority of in every other requisite point and the difficulties attending such an enterprise 20,000 copies made in France (adopting Mr Bingham's estimate of 80 per diem) will take 250 days, say 8 months. The work can could be done in England in 3 months, by my licensees, or by Mr Bingham with their assistance.

Perhaps you are not aware that one requisite will be very large quantities of hot water

You thought that what I said was not borne out by the exhibit I made from one of Mr Cole's letters did not bear me out I send therefore a copy of the whole letter. If it bears another interpretation I shall be glad, because on the day he wrote it (November 14) it seems he had already promised the sale to Mr Bingham the after sale of the pictures to the public, whereas I read his letter as reiterating & confirming his promise of it to Mr Henneman. He says

If the Royal Commissioners would take not object to this plan being adopted, the work would be very speedily done. and the plates might then be kept for a

As my meaning [was] apparently I hope misunderstood in one respect, I beg to explain that I disclaimed any royalty on this work but of course on understanding supposition which of that one or other of my licensees were to execute the work. It had never occurred to me that it could be otherwise. The royalty so relinquished would be 500 or 600 on the supposing the whole cost of the plates from 2000 to 2400

But if the profits of the work are to be given to a stranger, I do not then disclaim the royalty; why should I?- On the contrary I claim it, only in the shape of copies of the work itself rather than of money, which arrangement I should think must be far more agreeable to all parties- I am truly sorry to give Your Lordship so much trouble on this subject, but you will believe when I assure y that I am most unwittingly drawn into this controversy & only in self defense.


Notes:

1. Robert Jefferson Bingham (1825-1870), English born author and photographer, mostly active in France, who was the premier reproduction photographer of his day.

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