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Document number: 5936
Date: 05 May 1847
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: HENNEMAN Nicolaas
Collection: National Science and Media Museum, Bradford
Collection number: 1937-4950
Collection 2: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number 2 historic: Acc no 20361 (envelope only)
Last updated: 28th January 2015

Reading <1>
5 May 1847


I have finished the principal order for Mr Sterling <2>. I intended to finish to day but the weather turned out very bad, and altho I copied some they are not to my satisfaction being convinced I can do them a great deal better, especially two Oil paintings Mr Sterling wanted me to do to see how we could do oil painting, as he has a great many to do, please to let me kno if the glass house curtains are up, for if so, in case the weather should be bad to morrow, I think I better bring them up to finish in London, if the weather proofs fine to morrow I can finish the whole lot, except one wich is 4 feet 6 inch by 2 ft 2 inch and he wants it diminished to 3 inch by 1½, I should very much you to let me kno how to do it I think the best way to get it distinct is to take a large one first and then a small one from that, the peopel are all highly delighted with their Portraits and every body has seen them wanted theirs done, I supose you could not let me kno by return of post what you sel the exclusive Licence for Berkshire for –

likewise can or will you sel the Copyright of Miss Mitfords Portrait, <3> and what prise do you want for it. I should feel much obliged if you could let me kno these two questions by return of post–

Your Obedient Servant
N. Henneman

H. F. Talbot Esqr
2 Mansfield St Portland Place


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.

2. Nicolaas Henneman collaborated with the collector Sir William Stirling-Maxwell to produce the first art history book to be illustrated by photographs. This took the form of a fourth volume to Annals of the Artists of Spain (London: John Ollivier, 1848) – only 25 copies of the photographically-illustrated volume were produced. Although Talbot advised Henneman on some technical matters for this volume, he played no direct role in its publication. [See Doc. No: 06154].

3. Mary Russell Mitford (1787–1855) poet and novelist. [See Doc. No: 05924].

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