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Document number: 5021
Date: 16 Jul 1844
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: HENNEMAN Nicolaas
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: Acc no 20917 (envelope only)
Last updated: 7th February 2015

Reading <1>
July 16 /44

Sir –

I have nothing to do and been waiting your orders ever sints your work <2> has been published. I will go for 3 or 4 days to Laycock with Porter <3> as soon as I hear from you as to wath day you wish us to com there, I shall be glad for the oportunity of speaking with you about thiss buisnes –

I am Sorry I made a mistake in sending you two coppies of breakfast table <4> that a faded I washed 4 in cold water to try weather that would do leaving them in eatch water one hour but found out that it will not do I did not mean to send you any of them. I have been trying very hard if I can wash them in cold water for it would be a great saving when I have a great many to do –

your obt Servt
N Henneman

I hope you have Received your camera from Paris <5>

Mr. Talbot
31 Sackville Street
[wax seal:] NH


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

3. Charles Porter (b. 1828), a servant at Lacock Abbey, was the frequent subject of photographs, and occasionally also photographic assistant.

4. Probably ‘“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), plate 22.

5. See Doc. No: 04978.

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