Two letters from Fanny Archer to Jabez Hogg*

"Alma Cottage, Bishop Stortford.

"9th December, 1857.

Sir, -- My hunting has at last proved successful. In the enclosed book you will find notes respecting the paper pulp, albumen, tanno-gelatine, and collodion.

You will therein see Mr.Archer's notes of iod-collodion in 1849. You may wonder that I could not find this note-book before, but the numbers of papers that there are, and the extreme disorder, defy description.

My head was in such a deplorable state before I left that I could arrange nothing. Those around me were most anxious to destroy all the papers, and I had great trouble to keep all with Mr.Archer's handwriting upon them, however dirty and rubbishing they might appear, so they were huddled together, a complete chaos.

I look back with the greatest thankfulness that my brain did not completely lose its balance, for I had not a single relative who entered into Mr.Archer's pursuits, so that they could not possibly assist me.

Mr Archer being of so reserved a character, I had to find out where everything was, and my search has been amongst different things. I need not tell you that I hope this dirty enclosure will be taken care of.

The paper pulp occupied much time; in fact, notes were only made of articles which had been much tried, which might probably be brought into use.

I am, sir, yours faithfully,





Dear Sir,

I do not know whether the enclosed is what you require; if not, be kind enough to let me know, and I must try to supply you with something better.

I thought you merely required particulars relating to photography.

Otherwise Mr. Archer’s career was a singular one: losing his parents in childhood, he lived in a world of his own; I think you know he was apprenticed to a bullion dealer in the city, where the most beautiful antique gems and coins of all nations being constantly before him, gave him a desire to to model the figures, and led him to the study of numismatics.

He worked so hard at nights at these pursuits that his master gave up the last two years of his time to save his life. He only requested him to be on the premises, on account of his extreme confidence in him.

Many other peculiarities I could mention, but I dare say you know them already.

I will send a small case to you, containing some early specimens and gutta-percha negatives, with a copy of Mr.A’s portrait, which I found on leaving Great Russell Street, and have had several printed from it. It is not a good photograph, but I think you will consider it a likeness.

I am, yours faithfully,

F.G. Archer

* The Evolution of Photography. John Werge. 1890. page 67.

Jabez Hogg, born in Chatham in 1817. Trained as a physician, he was an early practioner of the Daguerrotype, ambrotype and calotype processes. His Manual of Practical Photography was published in 1843. He practiced medicine (specialising in opthalmic surgery) for 45 years. He was best known as a pioneering microscopist. he died in 1899

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