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Document number: 7268
Date: 22 May 1856
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: PRETSCH Paul
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA56-030
Last updated: 11th December 2009

The Patent Photo-galvano-graphic Company, <1>
Holloway Place, Holloway Road,
22d May 1856

My dear Sir,

I beg to acknowledge your favor of the 15th instant, <2> and though I differ with you on the points to which you have politely called my attention, I fully appreciate the conciliatory spirit which dictated your letter. Believe me when I say that I am quite as anxious as you can possibly be, not to trespass on the rights of others, and since I rely with as much confidence on the opinion of the professional Gentlemen the Company have consulted as you appear to do upon that of Mr Carpmael, <3> I see no other alternative than to let our respective solicitors <4> settle the questions between us, and whatever may be the result of their endeavors, I trust, it will not alter the kind feelings which you have pleased to express on my behalf any more than it will diminish the sentiments of respects which I in common with all lovers of science entertain for your most valuable labors.

I remain My dear Sir Yours very truly
Paul Pretsch

H. Fox Talbot Esq.


1. The Patent Photo-Galvanographic Company (commonly, The Photogalvanographic Company) was based on the work of Paul Pretsch (1808–1873), Austrian photographer & inventor and former Manager of the Imperial Printing Establishment in Vienna. Located in Holloway Road, Islington, London, from 1856-1857, Pretsch took over as manager and Roger Fenton (1819–1869), photographer & lawyer, was a partner and their chief photographer. Starting in late 1856, they published a serial portfolio, Photographic Art Treasures, or Nature and Art Illustrated by Art and Nature, illustratated with photogalvanographs derived from several photographer's works. Photogalvanography was uncomfortably closely based on elements of WHFT’s patented 1852 Photographic Engraving but, unlike Talbot, the plates were heavily retouched by hand. Compounding the legal objections of Talbot, their former manager, Duncan Campbell Dallas, set up a competing company to produce the Dallastype. The company collapsed and near the end of 1860 Pretsch, out of money, allowed his patent to lapse. A public appeal was launched in 1861 to assist him but he returned to Vienna in 1863 in ill health, going back to the Imperial Printing Establishment, but finally succumbing to cholera.

2. Possibly Doc. No: 07260.

3. William Carpmael (1804–1867), patent agent & engineer, London.

4. The solicitor for the Photogalvanographic Co. was Mr Loxley of Fry and Loxley. The other partner, Peter Wickens Fry, had been a prominent opponent of WHFT’s photographic patents. WHFT’s solicitor was John Henry Bolton (1795–1873), solicitor, London.

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