June 20 /44.
I here with enclose half a box of the Breakfast table <2> as good as I can obtain they certainly do not seem as good as the first but if anything is the matter with the negative it most have faded and not been properly fixed at first for I can see nothing the matter with the negative except that it looks faint – I shall feel greatly obliged to you Sir if you would have the kindnes to let Porter <3> have the money for these Inclosed Bills of Dimond <4> you can [illegible deletion] deduct it from my account as I wish to Pay him and do not like to send the money in a letter for fear of accident and I forgot to give it to Porter or Murray <5> when they left here – I wrote to day to Porter to say to call on you to morrow the 21st about 12 oclock Porter is coming back to Reading nex Saturday or Monday I think it very unfair of Dimond to Charge me three pounds: for ten [illegible] of Hypo for if you remember you wrote me that when I bought ten [illegible] at the time I would get it for 55 Shillings and I think it would be but fair if you give Porter the exact Sum £9··11··6 – for the two bills com to £10··6··6 now he always takes of fyf Percent when he is paid ready money so that taking of 10/ for the discount and 5/ he overcharges me with the Hypo and I should feel obliged to you to write aline with it telling him about the Hypo for he never told mee that he sold it for 55 Shillings the ten [illegible] or els I would have writen to him myself –
If you like you better let Porter bring a Couple coppies of your work and I will try to sel them for you the weather has been very bad for neg work thiss last week yesterday we had a great deal of rain and thunder – can you let me kno when your frind is likely to be back from Paris with the new camera? and I am like wise very anxious to kno how your work has taken and in hopes that you will require a great many coppies more for you must be aware that I have nothing to do I have inployed my time in trying to make good Paper that will keep two or three days – without Spoiling and have suceded Pretty well by using strong Boiled galic acid and weak nitra of Silver and a good deal of accetic acid in the nitra of Silver for making the Iodized paper. I have not got the rigt quantiteys but with a litle more experiments I hope to succeed and will let you kno the excat quantiteys in the meantime I shall feel greatly obliged to you if you think of any thing to help me on –
Your Obdt Servt
1. Nicolaas Henneman (1813–1898), born in Holland and trained in Paris, was WHFT’s valet who emerged as his assistant in photography. Henneman set up his Calotype works at 8 Russell Terrace, Reading. Commencing operations at the start of 1844, it functioned both as a photographic studio and as a photographic printing works and continued through late 1846, at which time Henneman transferred his operations to London. Although Talbot supported Henneman through custom, such as printing the plates for The Pencil of Nature, and loans, it was always Henneman's operation. His business cards made no mention of "The Reading Establishment," the designation that it is popularly given today; the only contemporary use of that title seemed to be by Benjamin Cowderoy - see Doc. No: 05690 - and in Henneman's initial correspondence with WHFT.
2. ‘“A Breakfast Table,”Set with Candlesticks’, Schaaf 2358, reproduced in Larry J. Schaaf, The Photographic Art of William Henry Fox Talbot (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000), p. 77.
3. Charles Porter (b. 1828), a servant at Lacock Abbey, was the frequent subject of photographs, and occasionally also photographic assistant.
4. Possibly a misspelling of Dr Hugh Welch Diamond (1809–1886), surgeon & photographer.
5. Porter and Murray were both employed at Lacock Abbey, but were sent to Henneman in Reading to assist with the production of WHFT, The Pencil of Nature (London: Longman, Brown, Green, & Longmans, June 1844–April 1846 [issued in six fascicles]). See Larry J. Schaaf, “Introductory Volume”, Pencil of Nature: Anniversary Facsimile (New York : Hans P. Kraus, Jr. Inc., 1989), p. 17.