Thursday, July 30, 2009

So much alike it is almost scary!

A few years ago my husband and I took our 3 youngest children (who still lived at home), and a nephew to England on a family trip. We rented a cottage in Upper Wraxall, Wiltshire, because it was a great location for travel to some sites we wanted to visit. This was in the spring of 2002 and "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" had been released the preceding November. We planned to visit a few of the sites featured in the movie. One of those sites was Lacock Abbey in the village of Lacock, about a 15 minute drive from our rented cottage.

Lacock Abbey
I also wanted to see the village because it was one of the film sites used in the great adaptation of "Pride and Prejudice" made by the BBC starring Colin Firth. However, my the kids mainly wanted to see the "Harry" sites. Before going into the Abbey we went through the adjacent museum that provided details about the 800+ year history of the Abbey and of one it most famous inhabitants, William Henry Fox Talbot.

Room at the Abbey used in several "Harry" movies as the Defense against the Dark Arts classroom
William Henry Fox Talbot was the inventor of the negative/positive photographic process which was the precursor to the photographic processes of the 19th and 20th centuries. One of the first pictures he took was at Lacock Abbey of the lattice window in 1835, as shown below.

The lattice window, photographed in 1835

We found this all very interesting, especially since my maiden name is "Talbot" and I had fun imagining the possibility of having a distant claim to this Talbot "family estate" in some way. I bought a booklet with all this history from the gift shop and tucked it away in the luggage until we got home.

William Henry Fox Talbot
One evening shortly after returning to our home in Arizona, I was showing Jeramy, my son in-law, that booklet since he is a very talented photographer. I thought he might be interested in Fox Talbot's history. Jeramy took one look at the picture of Fox Talbot and observed that he looked very similar to my father, Grant Talbot, except that dad obviously got the "good hair gene." We looked closely for the first time at his image and sure enough, there is a very strong resemblance between dad and Fox. I later checked with my father, who is the family's family history and genealogy expert to see if we might be directly related to Fox Talbot, or not.

My Dad-Grant Talbot

It turns out that there is not a very direct relationship, but distantly our family lines do join. It was amazing to all of us to see the similarity in the appearances of those two men even though they were separated by so many generations! I wish I could find a photo of dad having more "serious" expression on his face, because then the striking likeness would be much more apparent...

Sigh ... I do wish we could make some kind of claim to that particular Talbot estate through the family tree, connecting back to the beautiful Lacock Abbey, but, alas, it is not to be .... !


Tami Allred said...

Very Cool!!!

chuckles said...

HA! i should have known that we had a photography gene!!!!! :D

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