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Document number: 440
Date: 17 Nov 1845
Dating: 1845? preparations for Art-Union
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: HALL Samuel Carter
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Last updated: 30th December 2012

The Rosery
Old Brompton

17 Nov.

Dear Sir,

The person who so nicely mounts the Tabotypes [sic] <1> has not given me his address with his very pleasing specimens. May I trouble you to ask him to call upon me on Tuesday at my Chambers 3 Hare Court Inner Temple – or to write to me.

I have just returned from a visit of a few days to Sloperton <2> – where I need not say I heard much of you.

Your faithful and truly obliged Sert
S C Hall


1. Misspelling of ‘Talbotype’. The person was almost certainly Alfred Tarrant of London, the binder who mounted the prints for The Pencil of Nature. Hall was editor of The Art-Union Monthly Journal of the Fine Arts and the Arts, Decorative, Ornamental. Launched in 1839, the same year as photography, it was a lavishly illustrated journal that included many demonstration pieces. WHFT agreed to supply original photographs to mount in each copy of an issue. Hall originally estimated that he would need 4000 or 5000 prints, but in the end 7000 were required. 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.

2. Sloperton Cottage, Wiltshire, 1 mi E of Lacock: home of Thomas Moore, the Irish poet.

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