[This complex draft by WHFT is not a letter, but rather a summary of his continuing correspondence with the Royal Commissioners over the production of photographs to illustrate the Reports of the Juries for the Great Exhibition of 1851.<1> It is the first 3 leaves of a 17 leaf manuscript shared with Doc. No: 05976]
Mr Cole to Mr T.
Nov 14. H M’s Comrs do not seek t act as trsmn & obtn a pft by ye sale of ye phc imprns
1) (last) 8). . . . . . . . . . (Z) 2) 1) 1 wd furr remind y. yt after ye productn of ye necy qty of imprns for presntn t Fn. Gmts &c. ye sale was to rest wholly wth yr Licsees & yt all profts thon wd accrue not indd to
ye Crs wh plc ye whle origl risk & outlay but only t yrsf & Yr Lisees 3) 2) by producing & circultg many 1000
phghs thrt ye wld H M Cres are confering ye gtst bfit on an Art ye use of wch has hto bn circscrd & of wch ye ptee & his agts will ulty derive ye whle & sole pecuny advtge Extract from letter 3) Mr Wyatt in a lr to Mr Hn says to ye same effect. In considn ...
4) It was ye failre of Mr Hn 1st in tkng satisfy Ppr negves & next in producg of good posves yt hve bn ye immdte causes wch led ye Ex. Coms t ascertain ye means by wch they cd dispse wth his
services. (The defects of the posve copies are then examined thus
stated by Mr Cole)
too dark & not at all artistc & already show sevl defects (Obsns
They cannot beas to their being "too dark"
That is easily remedied, for all photogrs can make copies
either as light or dk as they
please. And of course in a much shorter time than dark
ones- A) MrT. to Exve CteeUpon ye same principle that a man who can run fast, can also run slowly.
2. It is said the copies are "not artistic"- This is very vague. A copy cannot be artistic, unless the negve photograph from wch it is copied, is so. Were the negves artistic in this instce? If not ye objn falls to the ground)
5) Mr C. Thurston Thompson to Mr. T (Extt) Nov. 8
I am directed by ye Exe Ctee to acknge &c (he goes on to state that ye high price proposed is) calcd vy much to deft ye desire of H M Crs yt ye pblc shd enjoy ye privilege of pchsg ym especlly as ye price proposed by M Hnmn was in
less ye fr case no less yn 5/.
(obsn It cannot be ye wish of the Royal Cmmrs to depreciate the Art.
In reply I beg to state a vy low price
wd have yt effect)
and I feel almost confident that Mr Thompson himself told me in conversantn that he thought 5/ was about a fair price for Mr Hn to charge to the public. H.F.T.)
6) Mr T. to ye Ex Ctee (Extract)
Nov 9. Y wll plse to recect yt I hve wvd all clm to rylty or ptnt dues either from yrsves or fm my licsees on ye grd of this bg a nl wk & so t say pt & pcl of ye Gt Extn wh was an honr to ye E
7) Wd ye Ctee like t see specs of posves printed off by Mr Hn fm 6 to 10 yrs ago wch have remd unaltered? In that case I wd forwd a pcl contg 100 of ym fr their inspectn.
8) 9) 29 Sept Ex. Ctee to Hn. 9) 10) Answer.
Z) Obst. This was repeatd in sevl other letrs - that the Comtee
cd were to derive no pecunry benefit whatever directly or indirectly from ye sale of the pictures- But in contradictn with this promise in entire forgetful ness of this
promise they have granted to Mr Bingham the sale of these picts as
part payment for the making of the copies - and on that account he has
undertaken to make do ye work on lower terms than he otherwise
could do. Is this not an Here is an indirect pecuny benefit
recd by the Comee. And what is ye difference between
receiving it directly or indirectly?
Mr. Cole to Mr. Talbot
2) 1) I would further remind you that after the
production of the necessary quantity of impressions for presentation to
Foreign Governments etc., the sale was to rest wholly with your
Licensees and that all profits thereon would accrue not indeed to
the Commissioners who take the whole original risk and outlay but only
to yourself and your licensees. 3) 2) by producing and circulating many thousands of
photographs throughout the world, Her Majesty’s Commissioners are conferring the
greatest benefit on an Art the use of which has hitherto been circumscribed
and of which the patentee and his agents will ultimately derive the whole
and sole pecuniary advantage. Extract from letter
3) Mr. Wyatt in a letter to Mr. Henneman says to the same effect. In consideration ...
4) It was the failure of Mr. Henneman, first in taking satisfactory paper negatives and next in production of good positives that have been the immediate causes which led the Exhibition
Commissioners to ascertain means by which they could dispense with his services. (The defects of the positive copies are then examined thus by Mr. Cole)
too dark, not at all artistic and already show several defects (Observation:
be as to their being “too dark,” that is easily remedied, for all photographers can make copies either as light or dark as they please. And of course in a much shorter time than dark ones Upon the same principle that a man who can run fast, can also run slowly. Secondly, It is said the copies are "not artistic". This is very vague. A copy cannot be artistic, unless the negative photograph from which it is copied, is so. Were the negatives artistic in this instance? If not the objection falls to the ground. H.F.T.)
5) Mr. Charles Thurston Thompson to Mr. Talbot (Extract) November 8th, 1851 <2>
I am directed by the Executive Committee to acknowledge etc. (he goes on to state that the high price proposed is) calculated very much to defeat the desire of Her Majesty’s Commissioners that the public should enjoy the privilege of purchasing them especially as the price proposed by Mr. Henneman was in the first case no less that 5 shillings.
(observation. It cannot be the wish of the Royal Commissioners to depreciate the Art.
In reply I beg to state A very low price would have that effect, and I feel almost
confident that Mr. Thompson himself told me in conversation that he thought 5 shillings was about a fair price for Mr. Henneman to charge to the public. Henry F. Talbot)
6) Mr. Talbot to the Executive Committee (extract) November 9th, 1851. <3> You will please to recall that I have waived all claim to royalty or patent dues either from yourselves or from my licensees on the ground of this being a national work and so to say part and parcel of the Great Exhibition which was an honour to the Exhibition and Country. Were it a mercantile speculation the royalty would probably amount to £500 or £1000.
7) Would the Committee like to see specimens of positives printed off by Mr. Henneman from 6 to 10 years ago which have remained unaltered? In that case I would forward a parcel containing 100 specimens for their inspection.
1) (last) 8)November 14th, l851 <4> Her Majesty’s Commissioners do not seek to
act as tradesmen and obtain a profit by the sale of the photographic impressions....
Observations: This was repeated in several other letters, that the Committee were to derive no pecuniary benefit directly or indirectly from the sale of the pictures. But
in contradiction with this promise in entire forgetful ness of this promise they have granted to Mr. Bingham the sale of these pictures as part payment for the making of the copies and on that account he has undertaken to make do the work on lower terms than he otherwise could do. Is this not an Here is an indirect pecuniary benefit
received by the Commissioners: And what is the difference between receiving it directly or indirectly?
1. Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, 1851: Reports by the Juries. Four volumes, illustrated by original photographic prints from negatives by Hugh Owen and Claude Marie Ferrier. In the copies given to WHFT, a dedicatory sheet was inserted (most likely printed up by him): 'This Work, on the Results of the Great Exhibition of 1851, Illustrated with Photographic Plates, being One of Fifteen Copies Given by the Royal Commissioners to H.F. Talbot, Esq. of Lacock Abbey, as The Inventor of this Branch of the Photographic Art, was by him presented to _____'. This publication caused WHFT considerable consternation at the time, for he felt that the Commissioners had stealthily and unfairly taken the job of printing the plates away from Nicolaas Henneman. For a summary of this complex situation, see Nancy B Keeler, 'Illustrating the "Reports by the Juries" of the Great Exhibition of 1851; Talbot, Henneman, and Their Failed Commission,' History of Photography, v. 6 no. 3, July 1982, pp. 257-272.