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Document number: 6529
Date: 05 Dec 1851
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: GREAT EXHIBITION OF 1851 Exhibition Committee
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA51-91
Last updated: 11th June 2014

Iit is not known who sent this draft to WHFT, but it apparently was intended to confirm the outcome of a face to face meeting between WHFT and the Commissioners. It was possibly sent by Granville George Leveson-Gower, 2nd Earl of Granville (1815-1891), MP & diplomat (see Doc. No: 06519; Doc. No: 06522; Doc. No: 05976; Doc. No: 06527). For WHFT's personal notes about his interpretations of these meetings (sadly falling just short of this date), see Doc. No: 15000].

Draft of letter to
Mr Fox Talbot

Dec. 5th


I am directed by the Executive Committee to say that as it is their desire that in any steps they may take, in the preparation of the Photographs to be presented with the Jury Reports to Foreign Governments, &c.<1> they should act, when possible, in accordance with your wishes as Patentee, and they are prepared to recommend to Her Majesty's Commissioners, after the verbal communication they have had the pleasure of holding with you, that your proposal to have fifteen copies of the Jury Reports, bound with the Photographs, placed at your disposal, be accepted; you undertaking, both on your own part & on that of those licensed by you, to give to Her Majesty's Commissioners every facility for the free introduction of the impressions which are to be made in Foreign Countries, the climate being more suitable, & that you waive all claim for royalty, beyond the fifteen copies already alluded to.

In reference to your wish that Mr Henneman<2> should be permitted to sell copies from the negatives belonging to Her Majesty's Commissioners, after the 140 copies required by the Commission are prepared, it is not in the power of the Executive Committee to promise that such an arrangement will be made, as they have granted this permission to Mr Bingham,<3> subject of course, to his obtaining licences from you as Patentee, for the sale of impressions in England. At the same time the Executive Committee will be happy to try, in their individual capacities, to arrange between Mr Bingham and Mr Henneman -

I am, Sir, your obedient Servant


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.

2. Nicolaas Henneman (18 November 1813 - 18 January 1898), Dutch, active in England; WHFT's valet, then assistant; photographer; opened calotype printing studio in Reading in 1843 and transferred to London in 1848. From 1848-1851, this operated as Henneman & Malone.

3. 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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