3, Guildford Place, Russel Square
April 18th 1861
I have duly received the two copperplates, and also your line <1> for which I thank you very much. Although the grain or granulation on my copperplates appears to you "uniform," still as you see in the impression from the plates, it is capable of reproducing the desired effect. - Concerning the quality of the electrotyped copper permit me to observe that it entirely depends upon the experience of the manipulator; - we are able now to produce soft, or brittle and hard, or tenacious copper. Moreover there has been latterly introduced a great advantage in printing engraved copperplates, viz. coating the surface <2> of them with pure iron or steel, (Acierage), which coating, if required, can be renewed several times without the slightest injury to the engraving. I myself have published in the " Journal of the photographic Society, <3>" No 89, Sept. 15th 1859, one of my plates produced by my first process. From one and the very same copperplate have been printed 3000 copies, and at a very moderate price too, consequently without any extraordinary troubles. The same has been coated three times with iron, but not every thousand, but after the first 600, - then in the second 1000, after which it stood the rest.
Messrs Bradbury, Wilkinson & Co. charge 3d per square inch for fine work, and 1˝d per square inch for inferior work (maps, plans &c) Acierage, and they guarantee 3000 till 4000 copies of each copperplate coated with iron for this price of the coating whether it be necessary to coat the plate once or several times. You see therefore that all my arguments are real established facts, proved by evidence of eyesight and experience.
The original of my specimen plate latterly sent to your examination (Don Quixote in his study, by Lake Price <4>) has been only an ordinary positive photograph on paper.
I regret exceedingly much that you seem not quite willingly to cooperate in carrying out the proposed new company. <5> Permit me to observe that I regret this for several reasons: - besides the influence of your name, so advantageous to such an enterprise, I must confess having still a few new schemes in my mind, and I flatter myself, that you yourself would perhaps not object, to have some share in executing them. Be assured, Sir, that the art of photographic Engraving is very little known, still it possesses a very large field, inexhaustible means to be cultivated, and a multifarious mode of application. - What is your opinion about photographic engraving of dies for embossing?
However if you should be obliged to go to Scotland next week, <6> I beg to inform me whether any letter of mine, forwarded to your usual residence, will reach you, or whether I shall address my letter otherwise. I would only trouble you, if pressing circumstances excuse it.
Permit me to remain Sir Yours very faithfully
H. F. Talbot Esq.
1. Not located.
2. Perhaps the process introduced by Ferdinand Jean Joubert de la Ferté (1810-1884), French-born engraver & photographer; British citizen from 1855, active in London; sometimes worked for Warren De La Rue: see Doc. No: 07830.
4. William Lake Price (1810-1896), watercolour painter, who took up photography in 1854.
5. There had been a proposal that Talbot should join Pretsch, Joseph Hogarth (1802-1879), London printseller, and others in a company to be set up to exploit photographic engraving. See Doc. No: 08340.