My dear Henry
I hope your Spectacles will like going by the post but I feel a little afraid of their being broken. I have just been driving to Bowood <1> with Aunt & Cousin Mary <2> All there seem very florishing [sic] including Clan Maurice <3> Lady Louisa <4> is particularly brisk Mr Stansfield [sic]<5> is there putting some finishing touches to his new pictures in the Dining room Mr Grahame & his French Wife & little Son are staying there She amused me very much.
We had a brilliant Sun yesterday as you guessed poor you could only see him through a fog. It was cold & frosty but today is mild & dark & rather windy a pleasanter day in my opinion & lucky for our drive in the open Carriage Aunt Mary goes positively on Friday morning early so I am afraid there is no chance of your seeing her I dont think her quite as well as she is sometimes. She is so very achey. Lady Elisth <6> is much better & sitting in the Library again, but I believe she will not join us at dinner. Yesterday I chose another picture of Porter in the doorway <7> & washed it in stripes with Parchmt Size Isinglass & white of Egg. I patiently waited till my return from Bowood today to try the Varnish the white of Egg lets the Varnish run through the Paper but the others succeed admirably & I may now try them on better pictures Must I varnish any of those which you gave me pasted on paper? I forget what you wished me to do
1. Bowood House, nr Calne, Wiltshire, 5 mi NE of Lacock: seat of the Marquess of Lansdowne.
2. Lady Mary Lucy Cole, nιe Strangways, first m. Talbot (17761855), WHFTs aunt, and Mary Thereza Talbot (17951861), WHFTs cousin.
3. Henry Charles Keith Petty Fitzmaurice, Viscount Clanmaurice (b. 1845).
4. Louisa Emma Petty Fitzmaurice, nιe Fox Strangways, Marchioness of Lansdowne (1785-1851), wife of Henry Petty Fitzmaurice, 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne; Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Victoria, 1837-1838; WHFT's aunt.
5.Clarkson Stanfield (17931867), water-colourist, designer, and book illustrator, who produced large Venetian canvasses for the dining room at Bowood. These are displayed in the Orangery at Bowood (the house was demolished in 1955, with the dining room being the only one salvaged - it is now the board room for Lloyd's of London).
6. Lady Elisabeth Theresa Feilding, nιe Fox Strangways, first m Talbot (17731846), WHFTs mother.
7. Charles Porter (b. 1828), a servant at Lacock Abbey, was the frequent subject of photographs, and occasionally also photographic assistant. WHFT took several images of him in front of Lacock Abbey, one of which ( Schaaf 2624) is reproduced in Larry J Schaaf, Sun Pictures IX William Henry Fox Talbot: Friends and Relations (New York: Hans P. Kraus, Jr, 1987), p. 16.