Articles tagged with: Camera Obscura

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

William Henry Fox Talbot

on Tuesday, 24 March 2015. Posted in William Henry Fox Talbot

William was born at Melbury House in Dorchester at his mother’s childhood home, the home of his grandfather the 2nd Earl of Ilchester. Although his father William Davenport Talbot owned Lacock Abbey, the family did not live there and it was leased to the Countess of Shrewsbury.

William Henry Fox Talbot

William’s father died only six months after his only son and heir to the estate was born, and left his mother with debts. He spent much of his childhood at the home of his aunt and uncle, Thomas Mansel Talbot and his mother’s sister Mary Lucy (nee Fox-Strangways), at Penrice. He attended Harrow School and studied at Trinity College Cambridge.