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Document number: 9596
Date: 14 Mar 1839
Recipient: MOORE Thomas (poet)
Author: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Collection: PUBLISHED
Last updated: 31st January 2013

[The original of this letter has not yet been traced. The following transcription is from Wilfred S. Dowden, editor, The Journal of Thomas Moore, v. 5 (1836-42),(Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1988), p. 2045. The editor notes, "Moore's placement of quotation marks in this passage creates an ambiguity. It is not clear whether everything after 'his own portrait painter' is part of Talbot's note or Moore's own comment." As evidenced in other letters, Moore seemed to be scarcely familiar with the mechanics of photography, so it is likely that the substance, if not the exact wording recorded, was supplied by Talbot.]

"Having written to Talbot to congratulate him on the success of his sensitive paper &c. received the following note from him, in answer 'We do not mean to be satisfied until we make every man his own portrait painter' - Instead of sitting to Sir T. Lawrence he is to sit to his own Camera. One sitting will be sufficient; indeed a second would be prejudicial unless he were to sit exactly in the same place - But, adieu to flattery in portrait-painting. The French philosophers are making experiments with great zeal on this & the kindred subject of phosphorescence caused by the solar light. The materials which they are making trails upon do not at first sound very dignified (oyster-shells & marrowbones) 'mais la Science ennoblit tout.' I could not help smiling at the commencement of M. Daguerre's last communication to the French Academy, which begins 'Take a large marrow-bone.' &c. &c. &c."

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