My dear Mr Talbot
I shall be in Town to morrow Evening: & probably dine at the Athenæum. <1>
At any rate if you will kindly leave word where I may find you, I will seek you on Sunday and talk over with you the subject of your note. <2> I think the Public have treated you very wrongly in respect of your beautiful discovery.
I have always done what has been in my power to maintain your right both to the discovery & to the use of your patent <3> of it, and I shall deem myself happy if I can in any way assist you <4> in asserting both.
I am Yours ever, very truly
Ashmolean Museum <5> – Oxford.
June 16. 1854.
1. Athenaeum Club, Pall Mall, London: WHFT’s club; a gentleman’s club composed primarily of artists and scientists.
3. In 1852 Talbot had thrown open his photographic patents as far as amateur photography was concerned, though he retained them regarding professional portraiture. He won several injunctions against professional portrait-photographers who infringed them, and in 1854 he sought to obtain another against James Henderson, photographer, London, a professional photographer who took portraits using the collodion process. Later in the same year, and before the Henderson case was concluded, he failed to obtain an injunction against another portrait-photographer, Martin Laroche, who, he claimed, had infringed two important elements of his patents. [For an account of these significant cases, and the opposition to Talbot’s patents, see H. J. P. Arnold, William Henry Fox Talbot: Pioneer of Photography and Man of Science (London: Hutchinson Benham, 1977), pp. 198–209.] Story-Maskelyne was one of the supporters of Talbot on the otherwise hostile council of the Photographic Society.
5. Story-Maskelyne lectured on mineralogy and chemistry at the University of Oxford, and had a laboratory in the lower part of the museum building.