My dear Mr Talbot
I enclose specimens of my last new French plan -<1> not always so successful as these however Some in Naples have thus succeeded in short time 40" by omitting the Gallic acid <2>in the preparation for camera using it only, & alone, for bringing out the picture and putting it into the camera not only wet, but with folds of wet linen behind it. You would much oblige me if you would tell me whether you adopt this mode in your successful process for none I see equal yours. I am also very anxious to know whether you have shortened your time of exposure, & by what means & that you should not think me impertinent in presuming to ask these questions & troubling you so often
I regret to see that of the copies which Cowderoy <3> sent to Muir <4> here for sale, those which are exposed to the light, hung up in rooms, are fading fast. My Pompean & Palermitan views may perhaps play me the same trick at present they look pretty good in tone & colour, & I have more than one hundred of them. I cannot discover why they sometimes turn so red in the washing, & hyp. sulph. <5> bath or whether five minutes in the last be time enough to fix permanently.
My sailor boy <6> has just now come up in the "Volage" & proceeds to Athens I hope I may be able soon to join him there & afterwards go on to Syria Palestine & Egypt In the mean time I am trying to iodise some paper for that of Cowderoys is quite inefficient: but I succeed with scarcely one sheet in ten the specimens I enclose are however on my own paper (the negatives) The expence of the process thus alarms me
I lately took the liberty of writing to you, enclosing some seeds more of such you shall have if worth the conveyance
I am grieved to say that Cowderoy has never sent me any copies of the Etna views sent last October nor of any of those since sent to him: some of which my Sicilian friends are anxiously looking for. I am, my dear Sir,
Your faithful & obedient Servt
Geo W Bridges
1. This would have been the controversial method published by Louis Dιsirι Blanquart-Evrard (1802-1872), which echoed WHFT's calotype process but entirely failed to mention the inventor. See Roger Taylor and Mike Ware, " 'Pilgrims of the Sun'; The Chemical Evolution of the Calotype 1840-1852," History of Photography, v. 27 no. 4, Winter 2003, pp. 308-319.
2. The developing agent in the calotype process.
3. Benjamin Cowderoy (18121904), land agent in Reading; business manager for WHFT; later a politician in Australia.
4. Probably George Muir Jnr. (18131868), bookseller in Malta; Muir sold photographs taken by Rev Calvert Richard Jones (18021877), Welsh painter & photographer and Bridges, and printed by Nicolaas Henneman (18131898), Dutch, active in England; WHFTs valet, then assistant; photographer or Cowderoy.
5. Hypo sulphite or hypo.
6. Capt. William Wilson Somerset Bridges (1831-1889), RN. He served on the ships Volage and Hibernia, surveying the Mediterranean.