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Document number: 3957
Date: 17 Oct 1839
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: LUBBOCK John William
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA39-66
Last updated: 14th February 2012

Eaton Place <1>
17 Octr 1839

Dear Sir,

Our correspondants at Paris advise me that they have paid Giroux <2> for

24 Plaques <3> F 144
2 boites <4> · 4
Caisse & emballage <5> 2
F 150

Which at 25 30 is £5·18·8

I have no doubt you will get them very shortly. You may like to know what the Daguerrotype Complete <6> cost me

Dagurrotype [sic] complete F 425
Case 10
Frais de douane <7> &c. 20
Frs. 455

The carriage &c to my house was £5·16

I am much obliged by your specimens which are very good, but I think you will find the plates answer better. Giroux say they do not prepare them, but however I have done some wonderful drawings without doing much to them but as yet I have not been able to succeed in preserving them properly. Some of Daguerre’s are now exhibiting at the Adelaid Gallery. <8> If you will send me some of your paper I will try it in my camera & send you a specimen. I have not yet been able to try silvered paper. <9>

In my letter to Giroux I said “On dit ici publiquement que M. Daguerre a pris un patent ici pour empecher [sic] qui que ce sort de se servir du Daguerréotype sans se mieux d’une permission de lui, ce qui cet incroyable”. <10>

Giroux have not yet answered my Letter.

I am, dear Sir, Yours very sincerely
J W Lubbock

H. F. Talbot Esq
Lacock Abbey


1. London.

2. François-Simon-Alphonse Giroux, of Alphonse Giroux et cie, stationers in Paris. Giroux was related to Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre's wife and in August 1839 secured the exclusive contract to market daguerreotype cameras and outfits manufactured under Daguerre's supervision. With no optical experience, Giroux turned to Charles Chevalier to make the lenses.

3. Silvered copper plates for the daguerreotype.

4. Boxes.

5. Crate & packing.

6. While complete Daguerreotype kits varied, especially as the process was improved, there is a similarity in the complete early outfits as they would have been issued by Giroux in 1839, shortly after the working process was made public. An outfit would have included Daguerre’s manual, a camera with lens and focussing back, a box for polished plates, an iodising box, a mercury box with spirit lamp and thermometer, an “apparatus” (as the plate holder was called), a box of the necessary chemistry, and some hand tools like buffing sticks and a plate polishing vice. Some early outfits also contain an image correction aid, such as a correcting prism (as is found in the Bemis outfit at the George Eastman House) or a 45 degree mirror (as is found in the Svanberg outfit at the Archives of the University of Uppsala).

7. Customs fees.

8. In September and October of 1839, M. de Ste. Croix exhibited specimens of the daguerreotype at Adelaide Gallery, Strand, London: Gallery of Practical Science; site of Antoine Claudet’s photographic studio.

9. In WHFT’s notebook ‘P’ for 18 August/11 September [P99] are remarks on his ideas for making such silvered paper, as well as a note to try those sold in shops. [See Doc. No: 03954] Larry J Schaaf, Records of the Dawn of Photography: Talbot's Notebooks P & Q (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996).

10. It has been put about here that M Daguerre has taken a patent here in order to prevent any one using the Daguerreotype without the benefit of his permission.

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