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Document number: 08327
Date: 06 Mar 1861
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: HOGARTH Joseph
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA61-037
Last updated: 11th December 2009

March 6th/61


In consequence of a letter received from a friend who is much more competent to advise in the matter of Companys than I am I write to ask you whether you will grant a licence for the use of your patent <1> and if so upon what terms in order to its being worked either with Mr Pretschs <2> or by itself as circumstances or improvements may render desirable

Mr Pretsch would rather submit his specimens to you himself and if there is any chance of our coming to terms he and I would wait upon you on Friday

The favour of a reply by return will oblige as an Engagement which I must enter upon on Monday will so absorb my time for the next three weeks that I shall not be able to enter upon other [illegible].

I write in haste to save Post & if I am not sufficiently clear in my statement, Mr Dupasquiers letter <3> may render my meaning more intelligible

I am Sir Your obedient Servant
J Hogarth

Mr Heny Fox Talbot


1. Talbot had taken out two patents relating to the use of photography in engraving: Improvements in Photographic Engraving, No. 565, November 1852, and Photoglyphic Engraving, No. 875, April 1858.

2. Paul Pretsch (1808–1873), Austrian photographer & inventor; founder of the Photogalvanographic Company. He, too, had taken out two patents: Producing Copper and Other Plates for Printing, No. 2373, 9 November 1854, and Application of Certain Designs Obtained on Metallic Surfaces by Photographic and Other Agencies, No. 1824, August 1855. Talbot claimed that Pretsch’s process infringed his first patent. The Patent Photo-Galvanographic Company (commonly, The Photogalvanographic Company),based on the work of Pretsch, was located in Holloway Road, Islington, London, from 1856-1857. Pretsch took over as manager and Roger Fenton (1819-1869), photographer & lawyer, was a partner and their chief photographer. Starting in late 1856, they published a serial portfolio, Photographic Art Treasures, or Nature and Art Illustrated by Art and Nature, illustratated with photogalvanographs derived from several photographer's works. Photogalvanography was uncomfortably closely based on elements of WHFT's patented 1852 Photographic Engraving but, unlike Talbot, the plates were heavily retouched by hand. Compounding the legal objections of Talbot, their former manager, Duncan Campbell Dallas, set up a competing company to produce the Dallastype. The company collapsed and near the end of 1860 Pretsch, out of money, allowed his patent to lapse. A public appeal was launched in 1861 to assist him but he returned to Vienna in 1863 in ill health, going back to the Imperial Printing Establishment, but finally succumbing to cholera.

3. Letter not located. He seems to have been the legal adviser to the proposed photographic-engraving company – see Doc. No: 08415.