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Document number: 5817
Date: 24 Dec 1846
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: BRIDGES George Wilson
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA46-146
Last updated: 11th December 2010

24th Decr

My dear Sir

With very many thanks for your kind present. I have to acknowledge this morning the receipt of the parcel which contains also the Talbotypes <1> for Mr Muir <2> – which I have just now delivered to him, & which he expresses no doubt of disposing of. –

I have a letter too from Mr Jones <3>, who tells me that ere this Cowderoy <4> has probably been dismissed from your employ – this leaves me in some doubt as to whose order I may make payable the amount of his bill, which I should otherwise remit to him by this mail – Will you have the goodness to inform me upon that point. –

By following your advice, and reducing the proportions of salt, I find the copies better – less liable to become specky in the tissue of the paper – yet even these become invariably so if done in a Sirocco <5>. – still however they fade considerably in the hyp. sulph. <6> bath: tho’ they recover a little in drying & exposure, & then stand firm –

Mr Jones tells me your people <7> sell a mixture for preparing the paper – will you do me the favour to order them to send me a supply of it – addressed to the care of John Bridges Esr <8> Warnford Court, Throgmorton – who will forward it to me. –

Every direction I have, speaks of only one coat of nit. silv. <9> on the salted paper – I can get no impression without two – of 60 grs each – why? –

I have lost the chance of accompanying the Bishop of Jerusalem <10> to Palestine. – he saild last week – & the Hibernia <11> is still at Lisbon. However I hope to follow him when she comes in. – In the mean time to run over to Palermo, Grigenti<12> &c from where I will, as occasion offers, take your permission to send you negatives per post. –

Begging your instructions about the bill, pray believe me, my dear Sir

very truly Yours
Geo W Bridges

What a beautiful specimen of the art is that group of gardeners <13> &c under the vine clad wall of the Abbey – & the lovely young face from the print. –The weather here is very stormy & bad scarcely better than yours for photographic purposes – with the smallest of the three diaphrams, it takes 6’ – with the largest 3 ½
Should the smallest be used for copying pictures? – or only for paysages, well defined. –
Shall I send you any of Naples and Pompeii? perhaps Mr Jones has supplied them – & Pζstum.–


1. Although WHFT modestly used the term calotype, Jones and other loyal supporters honoured him by calling these Talbotypes, in parallel with the term Daguerreotype.

2. Probably George Muir Jnr. (1813–1868), bookseller in Malta; Muir sold photographs taken by Rev Calvert Richard Jones (1802–1877), Welsh painter & photographer and Bridges, and printed by Benjamin Cowderoy (1812–1904), land agent in Reading; business manager for WHFT; later a politician in Australia or Nicolaas Henneman (1813–1898), Dutch, active in England; WHFT’s valet, then assistant; photographer.

3. Rev Calvert Richard Jones (1802–1877), Welsh painter & photographer.

4. Benjamin Cowderoy (1812–1904), land agent in Reading; business manager for WHFT; later a politician in Australia; Bridges was paying WHFT for printing his negatives.

5. Local weather phenomenon. [See Doc. No: 05797].

6. Hypo sulphite or hypo.

7. Probably Henneman and Cowderoy.

8. Bridges brother.

9. Silver nitrate.

10. Samuel Gobat (1799–1879), Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem from 1846 until his death in 1879; he became Vice-Principal of the Malta Protestant College in February 1846, but on 9 April 1846 he was appointed to fill the vacant Bishopric at Jerusalem by the King of Prussia.

11. The naval ship on which Bridges’ son served; Capt. William Wilson Somerset Bridges (1831-1889), RN.

12. Probably Agrigento.

13. Probably ‘Group of Persons selling Fruit and Flowers’, Schaaf 1917, reproduced in Larry J Schaaf, Sun Pictures Catalogue Nine: William Henry Fox Talbot: Friends and Relations (New York: Hans P. Kraus, Jr, 1999), p. 61.

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