17 Upper Gouch Street Birmingham
30 March 1866
You no doubt are surprised in mee not having send the glass possitives, but the fact is I could not get them from those <1> that so eagerly promised, and with the exception of the one I coppied for you from Mr Bedford <2>’s negative, I have only two from Mr Mayall, <3> the Prince Consort & Lord Palmerstone and those two are done on Opal glass by what they call the Colodio Chloride printing. They are very fine as transparencies but I am afraid they will not suit you as they will require at least ten times longer printing than a possetive on plain glass. I have told him so and he told me he would print the other two, the Prince of Wales & Lord Brougham on plain glass but when that is the question. I think if you really want them you better write a line your self to those that I have originaly mentioned to you as so eager to do any thing for you, for to speak the truth I am disgusted with the majority of them – the whole thing is so simple that had I a business of my own an apparatus I could have done the whole in a week if you wish mee to send those I have got by sending mee word to that effect and I will forward them to you as I shall be in London in about a forthnight for a day or two. I am here in a situation till July, I was obliged to take it as
in London is overstocked with photographers they advertise themselfs as first rate Artist at 30/ a week. I do get four pound here but I am sory to say it does not suit my health. I am pretty well shut up for 8 hours in a room, by streching my arms out I can tuch the walls both ways so I cant call it a room but a closet. Then all the chemicals are kept in that I got to coat develope work fix etc all in this place. I was in hopes of getting out of photography by buying Mr Hallams <4> boarding house but I lost it from want of a sum at a certain term day. I have been thinking of writing to your sister the Countess of Mt Edgecombe <5> to ask her if trough her interest at Court she would be able to get mee some kind of situation I know they are generaly got by valets, butlers etc of noblemen in that manner trough the interest of their masters at Court perhaps you would be kind enough to ask her Ladyship wath she tinks about it, as for the kind of situation of course I mean such as messanger in the Foreign Office, ther are a great many such places where there is no talent required but, the principal recommendation being trust worthy of course it is quit out of the question I could take a situation where writing & accounts keeping formed part of the employment, However I hope Sir & I know you will if you can by any means assist me to something in that way as photography does injure my health and I must try to get out of it before it is too late the Doctor told me three or four years ago it was to trying for my constitution – if you want anything done for you in the possitives on glass I think Mr Claudet <6> is the only man you could rely on to do it when you require it, Shall I send those I have got or keep them till you come to London?
Your Obedient Servant
2. Francis Bedford (1816–1894), photographer.
3. John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1810–1901), photographer.
4. Possibly Samuel Hallam.
5. Caroline Augusta Edgcumbe, née Feilding, Lady Mt Edgcumbe (1808–1881); WHFT’s half-sister.
6. Antoine Françoise Jean Claudet (1797–1867), London; French-born scientist, merchant & photographer, resident in London.