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Document number: 5391
Date: 16 Sep 1845
Dating: 1845?
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: HALL Samuel Carter
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA45-128
Last updated: 12th August 2010

The Rosery
Old Brompton
Sepr 16.

Dear Sir

I was in Scotland when your note <1> arrived – or you would, of course, have received an earlier answer.

I have received the 4th Part of your beautiful work; <2> but a notice of the 3rd part had been in type some time – I will take care to insert an early notice of Part 4.

I quite agree with you that the Public are as yet quite ignorant upon this most interesting subject. I do not wish to press you concerning that of which we have spoken – the preparing by your assistant <3> of the 4 or 5000 Impressions to issue with the Art Union. <4> I am very sure this would be desirable in all ways – among others it could not fail to obtain augmented circulation for your periodical work.

I pray you pardon my much worrying you on this important topic.

Your faithful servant
S. C. Hall.


1. Not located.

2. WHFT, The Pencil of Nature (London: Longman, Brown, Green, & Longmans, June 1844–April 1846 [issued in six fascicles]).

3. Nicolaas Henneman (1813–1898), Dutch, active in England; WHFT’s valet, then assistant; photographer.

4. The Art-Union Monthly Journal of the Fine Arts and the Arts, Decorative, Ornamental (launched in 1839, the same year as photography) was a lavishly illustrated journal that included many demonstration pieces. Hall's estimate here that he would need 4000 or 5000 prints expanded in the end to a requirement for 7000. An original mounted Talbotype was bound in each copy of the June 1846 Art-Union, v. 8 no. 91, facing p. 143. Since each print had to spend some time in the sun under the negative, Henneman pressed every available negative into service, leading to a great variety in different copies of the journal. Hall must have heard from some skeptical artists, for he felt compelled to explain in the next issue that the prints 'were taken from the actual objects they represent; they were, strictly, copies from NATURE; in no case had a print been made use of for the purpose of transfer' - 'The Application of the Talbotype', The Art-Union, July 1846, p. 195. The final effect of this effort was costly to WHFT, both in out of pocket expenses and in reputation. The production of so many prints in such a short time span with the approach of winter suffered from a paucity of sunshine and Henneman's inability to supply (and afford) sufficient warm water for adequate washing. Many of the prints began fading almost straight away, and this fiasco was one of the factors that led WHFT to abandon printing with silver in favour of his photographic engraving and later photoglyphic engraving, both expressed through time-tested printer's ink.

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