16th November 1851: Three letters of W. H. F. Talbot pursuing his dispute with Commissioners of the Exhibition

compiled by R. Derek Wood


In the early 1970s these documents concerning the exhibition of 1851 were file 148 in the 'Fox Talbot Collection' at the Royal Photographic Society in London. Thirty years later that Collection has been transferred to the National Museum of Photography at Bradford. The following three draft letters of 16 Nov 1851 (to Bolton and Carpmael and Knight) are now catalogued at NMP as Doc No.s 06514-6 and their text (indexed under the names of the recipients) has also been made available online by the Talbot Correspondence Project at http://foxtalbot.dmu.ac.uk/

W. H. F. Talbot in dispute with Commissioners of the Exhibition of 1851:

Drafts of three letters on four sides of one folded sheet dated November 16, 1851,
from W. H. F. Talbot to George Knight, J. H. Bolton, and William Carpmael:


Nov 16 /51

[To] Knight I request you will have the goodness to inform me immediately whether you have made a contract with the Executive Committee to supply them with several thousand positive copies, because if you have made no such contract it was made by an unlicenced party against whom my lawyer will / I believe probably / take immediate proceedings.

[To] Bolton
I have to request your immediate attention to the following. Henneman writes me word that the Executive Committee have signed a contract with a person Mr. Bingham to make 10000 or more copies in France, thus defrauding my licensees to that amount. Mr. B is still in London but leaves for France on Wednesday [19th November] I propose to call on you about noon tomorrow (Monday) Previous to that time I should be glad if you could call on Messrs Knight of Foster Lane and see one of the brothers so as to make sure that they have nothing to do with it. For if the contract were virtually made with them, they being my licensees, I should only say that it was a very singular [or irregular?] thing in them to employ Mr. Bingham (who has no licence) else this was and is not in their / without previous notice to me and was transaction on their part and contrary to the terms and to the spirit of their license. But I apprehend that they have nothing to do with the matter, and this is what I wish to ascertain.

That being ascertained, I should propose to apply to the Court of Chancery for an ex parte injunction to restrain Mr. Bingham from infringing my patent in anyway / and specially from doing so in the way above mentioned (surreptitiously introducing his [the?] copies from France) /. The urgency as to time prevents our giving notice of the intention to apply for the injunction which is usual, but not necessary. It only produces causes more expense to the party obtaining the injunction in case the same is afterwards dissolved.

You will of course lay
I think you had better see the counsel Mr. E. F. Smith. The present point is so simple a one, that it does not involve any knowledge of the processes of photography of which perhaps Mr. Smith has no knowledge. You may state to him that Mr. Bingham has many several times applied to me for a license, thus recognising the patent right, but I have been unable to arrange with him.
I had a letter from Mr. Cole of the Executive Committee the day previous containing not even alluding to this proceeding. Really this is too much duplicity, taken in conjunction with the evasive letter in reply to written to you. I shall likewise propose to you to call on Mr. Cole (in your company) in order to see if he admits or denies having signed this contract.
Please to send a retainer to [William] Grove.

[To W. Carpmael, Talbot's Patent Agent]
Cpml   I want your advice under rather perplexing circumstances (I will call for an answer tommorrow Monday [17th November] ). The Executive Committee have gone so far as to sign a contract with a party to make 10,000 or more photographic copies in France, thus defrauding my licensees to that amount. The party [Robert Bingham] is now in Town but leaves for France on Wednesday, Can I in the meanwhile obtain an ex parte injunction against him, to restrain him. from.

If I give him notice he will be off. The Executive Committee have I believe given him a guarantee of indemnity against any action I may bring. They spend the public money in that way. That is the way in which British inventions are encouraged.
                        Yours truly

         [Talbot v. Laroche]     [Talbot to Lord Granville 1 Dec 1851]  
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