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Document number: 6742
Date: 22 Mar 1853
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: WILSON John
Author 2: ROSLING Alfred
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA53-3
Last updated: 25th April 2010

Royal Panopticon of Science and Art
Leicester Square
March 22d 1853


The Photograph department of this Institution <1> is now open and feeling sensible how much the success of a new Institution like this depends on the liberal support it receives from gentlemen of your position and [word missing - paper torn away] known scientific attainments, we beg to lay the enclosed prospectus before you and in doing so, to request your permission to practice the portraiture branch of your patent and in regard to the terms we throw ourselves upon the liberality you have already so generously exhibited in giving to the Public, so large a share of your eminently successful invention and we avail ourselves of this opportunity to solicit the favor of your company to view the Building which will now be shortly open to the Public

At the next meeting of Council it would afford us great pleasure to propose that your name be placed on the list of Associates of the Institution; if such a course should meet with your approbation

An early reply at your convenience will oblige
Sir, Your obedient Servants.
John Wilson
Alfred Rosling

Members of the Photographic Comtee


1. The Royal Panopticon of Science & Art was a fantastic Moorish-style building on Leicester Square in London. Its 97 foot (30 metre) tall central rotunda had an artesian well fed fountain that sprayed to the roof. It was designed to showcase scientific, technical and artistic feats. Financially unsuccessful, it closed in 1856. Its splendid organ, the largest in England, was purchased by St. Paul's Cathedral and the building was re-named the Alexandra Palace, becoming the base for Howe's & Cushing's American Circus. It then became a series of theatres until burning down in December 1882. The replacement building, much less exhuberant in style, became the Alexandra Theatre Hall. In 1937, the Odeon Theatre replaced it. Nicolaas Henneman was asked to give tutorials there, but whether this actually happened or not is unconfirmed; see Doc. No: 06766.