23d May 1847
My dear Sir/
Many thanks for your letter of 6th & the promise of the Copies I trust they will come by the expected steamer as on the 3rd June I am off again for my Convent on Etna -<1> & with your kind present of paper will try the Crater again <2> & probably go on for another week or two to finish Pompeii & Pζstum. I long since sent to you from thence some of the spotted specimens of Cowderoys <3> bad paper. & since some of the good negatives, & my bad copies. The king of Naples <4> was so pleased with one of them, that he has given me permission to copy, move or measure throughout the kingdom of which I shall again take advantage.
Muir <5> says that he did, long since, write to Cowderoy to acknowledge the receipt of copies I fear some of them are fading fast one, of the Church, &c hanging in my room here, is nearly gone out & some in his shop getting very faint. This is very discouraging still more so that I cannot succeed myself in making good copies that is, with any degree of certainty I cannot discover what it is which influences the variety of colour some so very red others almost black All come admirably from the copying frame but fade, & get discoloured in the first washing with warm water. It is the temperature of the water which requires to be exactly regulated? A gentleman here is succeeding better than I do, by following the French method -<6> but of this I have already written to you.
When I return from Sicily in Sepbr I shall certainly go to Smyrna & probably to Syria. & should be greatly obliged by any further instructions in the art, previous to my going
I will again try the panoramic plan of<7>
but I sent you long since a specimen of my ill success therein the instrument [illegible] working then level or perpendicular but the uprights diverging I mean of architecture, near: as you speak of a Cathedral. That of Malta harbour was, I suspect, a mere accident, which I cant repeat in fact paper is too scarce to waste of experiments. I trust however they shall now be repeated.
My friends in Sicily are impatient for the many copies I promised them last year, & which they assisted me in. Letters will reach me there, directed here, as usual. I remain, my dear Sir
Geo W Bridges
H. Fox Talbot Esqre
3. Benjamin Cowderoy (18121904), land agent in Reading; business manager for WHFT; later a politician in Australia; Cowderoy had sent Bridges paper prepared for calotyping, but Bridges was not at all satisfied with the quality of the paper. [See Doc. No: 05871].
4. Ferdinand II (18101859).
5. 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 Cowderoy or Nicolaas Henneman (18131898), Dutch, active in England; WHFTs valet, then assistant; photographer.
7. Also called Panoramic Joiners, which were photographs taken so that they could be joined into a panorama, these were first thought of by Calvert Richard Jones, who was at Malta when Bridges arrived and taught him to photograph. See Larry J. Schaaf, Sun Pictures Catalogue Five: The Reverend Calvert R. Jones (New York: Hans P. Kraus, Jr, 1990), pp. 3031 and 3839.
8. Possibly House of the Tragic Poet or House of Sallust, which had already been photographed by Jones.