Department for Publication of Photographs of Objects in the British Museum.
W. A. Mansell & Co.,
Photographic and Fine Art Publishers.
2, Percy Street,
Rathbone Place, W.,
March 15. 1873.
W. H. Fox-Talbot [sic] Esq.<1>
We have taken the liberty to send the catalogue of our British Museum series of Photographs.<2>
It will be evident from the “Introduction”, that these photographs are not merely representations of the most valuable contents of the richest Museum in the World, but also a series systematically made and arranged with the definite object of showing man’s gradual advance, and the developement [sic] of art and civilization from Pre-historic to Mediæval times. That this design has been successfully carried out is testified by the critiques which have appeared in the leading journals here, & on the continent.
The publication of a work of this magnitude has necessitated an enormous outlay, and we are obliged to seek the support of men of culture, for whom it has been prepared.
We therefore ask permission to send the Series, or a selection of the most interesting of the collection for inspection, believing that you will both recognise the importance to science & art of this new application of photographie, [sic]<3> and appreciate the manner in which the work has been produced.
Waiting your commands, We are, Sir, Yours respectfully
W. A. Mansell & Co
1. The hyphenated name is absolutely incorrect, although not entirely uncommonly used by people who did not know WHFT. Indeed, he rather preferred not to use the Fox at all - see http://foxtalbot.dmu.ac.uk/talbot/t_or_ft.html .
2. Catalogue of a series of photographs (by S. Thompson) from the collection on the British Museum (London: Mansell, 1872). Stephen Thompson (1831-1892) was a London photographer; traveler; author; lecturer; art critic and photographer for the British Museum. He corresponded with WHFT.
3. The French spelling of photography, perhaps as an affectation?