Articles tagged with: William Henry Fox Talbot

Amelina Petit de Billier

on Wednesday, 23 September 2015. Posted in Other

Amelina Petit de Billier was born in Paris in 1798. In 1820, she moved from France to England to join the Feilding family as their governess at Lacock Abbey.

The Feilding family consisted of Charles Feilding, his wife Lady Elisabeth (previously Talbot, nee Fox-Strangways), their two daughters Caroline and Horatia, and Lady Elisabeth's son William Henry Fox Talbot. Amelina was a similar age to William and not much older than the two girls, so she seemed to live as part of the family even though she was originally engaged to be their governess. She enjoyed her life with the Feildings very much, remaining close to the family and actually was buried in the same plot as William Henry Fox Talbot.

Amelina Petit de Billier

Ela and Rosamond Talbot –A brief snapshot of their lives

on Wednesday, 18 March 2015. Posted in Talbot

Ela Therese Talbot, born 1836, and Rosamond Constance Talbot, born 1837, were two of four children born to William Henry Fox Talbot and his wife Constance. These two young ladies were born into a wealthy family at a time of huge changes in Great Britain. Queen Victoria came to the throne in 1837, the railways were expanding in Britain and abroad, industrialisation was taking place and the Great Exhibition opened in May 1851.

Fox Talbot family with Amelina

Ela and Rosamond were educated at home by their mother and a governess named Amelina Petit de Billier. She had been the governess to William Henry Fox Talbot when he was a boy and after a period of time back in France, which was her original home, she was asked to return to the family to become a companion to Fox Talbot's wife and children. She spoke French, Italian and German. She was an accomplished musician and played the piano and the harp. Amelina's harp is still kept at Lacock Abbey. This talented lady was also an excellent artist and could draw and paint. Ela and Rosamond were very lucky to have this lady in their household and she stayed with the household until she died in 1876.

The Gale family

on Friday, 25 September 2015. Posted in Other

Lacock carpenters through the centuries

The Gale family are of particular interest because in the 19th century it was John Gale who built the camera obscura for William Henry Fox Talbot’s research into photography. The Fox Talbot Correspondence project has transcribed several letters to or from William Henry Fox Talbot which refer to John Gale and his carpentry work, showing that he was a trusted local carpenter and he was obviously very trusted by Fox Talbot if he was given the honour of doing some of the work which would later be seen as an important time in the development of photography but which at the time probably seemed very strange to Gale. They must have also seemed strange to William’s wife Constance as she called them “Mousetraps” and there were several of them made and probably dotted around the house. John Gale also did a lot of valuations on the Lacock estate, valuing furniture in houses including Lacock Abbey and often valuing timber that had been sawn in the various forests on the estate.

William Henry Fox Talbot with camera obscura