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Document number: 88
Date: Thu 1854
Recipient: GROVE William Robert
Author: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Collection: Royal Society, London
Last updated: 29th April 2012

Athm <1>

Dear Grove

Both Thesiger <2> and yourself being out of Town I have, to the best of my judgment, reviewed the circumstances of this affair <3>, and with Mr Bolton’s <4> concurrence, have come to the conclusion, not to apply to the P. Council <5> for a renewal of the patent.

But we have taken no steps in the matter at present, as we shall see you in town on Saturday morning.

Yours very truly
H. F. Talbot


1. Athenaeum Club, Pall Mall, London: WHFT’s club; a gentleman’s club composed primarily of artists and scientists.

2. Sir Frederick Thesiger, later 1st Baron Chelmsford (1794–1878), Lord Chancellor (1858). He was Leading Counsel for WHFT in the patents lawsuit of 18 to 20 December 1854, but his lack of scientific expertise was a disadvantage to WHFT’s case, which was lost. In 1852 WHFT had thrown open his photographic patents as far as amateur photography was concerned, though he retained them regarding professional portraiture. He won several injunctions against professional portrait-photographers who infringed them, and in 1854 he sought to obtain one against William Henry Silvester, known as Martin Laroche, a professional photographer who employed the collodion process. He then found himself having to defend his right to his patents and even his claim to the invention of photography on paper. See all letters concerning Talbot v. Laroche in 1854.

3. The lawsuit and its unhappy outcome.

4. John Henry Bolton (1795–1873), solicitor, London.

5. The British sovereign’s private body of advisors, which had been responsible for the regulation of patents until the Patents Office was set up under the Patent Law Amendment Act 1852, and which still dealt with patents taken out before the Act. For WHFT’s decision to let the patent lapse, see Doc. No: 07119 and Doc. No: 07114.

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