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Document number: 6752
Date: 08 Apr 1853
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: BARCLAY George
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA53-10
Last updated: 22nd March 2012

22 Gerrard St
Ap 8 1853


As a general rule it is better to over bite because you can easy [sic] reduce by emery paper or burnisher or various other ways but you cannot encrease your force without going over the whole detail, of course it best [sic] to [illegible] the right tint but of the two over biting is the least trouble. I think the whole of these plates would have been better stronger, but the total abscence [sic] of outline or spirited touches that it is obvious cannot be got at present by your process, gives a tameness to me unsatisfactory. the [sic] fern however done on the large plate could have the fibres and outline added. then [sic] comes the consideration of how much time would be saved, the same may be said of the abbey, again there is but one tint. could [sic] you not in your pictorial subjects produce two tints, by painting over the parts wanted lighter with Brunswick black and biting the rest a little longer you would be surprised what a trifle would do

In the group which has all the defects of the Photograph from which it is taken a very great improvement could be made by biting a tint over the wall but not over the figures, stopping out the figures by brunswick [sic] black carefully, in like manner the half tints wanting could by an artistic treatment be supplied and this plate made a perfect plate – from a bad original!! – to be sure there is a little unsoundness, little white specks, but these you will probably shortly conquer. it [sic] is most desirable to do so as I am convinced it is only a question of manipulation and would be considered a defect in the process, by that large class of little minds the fault finders

The Grass is most admirable the line clean bright and perfect, the foulness can be removed in part by burnishing or by very fine emery paper, it is a nice job and would take probably ten times as long as biting another. nevertheless [sic], don’t run any risk with this for I consider it excellent if you cannot clean it, why I must even offer to do it for you, if you cannot get one as good without all those little dots, which I could not undertake to remove

I do not think the photographs are well chosen, they want that decision that you can obtain on glass, then why not use it? copying from prints is beside the mark

A description of your plan when you propose divulging it would form an interesting Friday evening at the Royal Institution and if you like the idea and it were accepted I would not object to being the exponent comparing the two processes.

Most Respectfully Yrs
Geo Barclay

I had written this when I received yours of yesterday. I have now a printer in the house and we can prove a plate or two while you are here on Monday, but I am engaged from Eleven oclock till 2

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