5, Henrietta Street, Covent Garden,
Nov. 10 /62
H. Fox Talbot Esqre
Dear Sir –
I am much obliged by the favour of your contribution of specimens of photoglyphic engraving. They are of the highest interest, and if I had been aware that you had been so far successful in the invention I would certainly have asked you whether it could have been applied to the illustration of Prof. C. Piazzi Smyth’s more recent work “Three Cities in Russia.” <1>
He took a number of excellent stereoscopic pictures in St Petersburgh, Moscow, and Novgorod, but we decided not to make use of them on account of the slow and expensive process of photographic printing.
I would not, however, recommend the photoglyphic engraving for stereographs. It does not suit pictures that have to be looked at through the lens, in combination.
For use in books as single plates, in which case the engravings might be touched by hand,<2> it appears to me very well adapted, and if I had any good book to which such illustrations might be applied I would not hesitate one moment in consulting you as to the practicability of applying them.
If any subject or opportunity should suggest itself by which this invention can be brought before the public I shall be most happy to confer with you upon the matter.
Meanwhile I beg to thank you very much for these specimens which have greatly interested me.
I am, dear Sir, Your faithful Servant
[envelope - dry embossed on rear flap with monogram:]
H. Fox Talbot Esqr
1. Prof Charles Piazzi Smyth (1819–1900), photographer & Astronomer Royal for Scotland, Three Cities in Russia (London: Lovell Reeve, 1862). In fact, Smyth would soon employ an experimental photoglyphic engraving in addition to albumen prints in his official report on Teneriffe. Smyth observed, "to the inventor alike of photography and photoglyphy, it must be comparatively indifferent by which of his two methods these unusual Teneriffe landscapes are introduced into this book, though to readers in a future century it may may a great difference, for the photoglyph must last as long as the paper it is printed on...." See Larry J. Schaaf, "Piazzi Smyth at Teneriffe: Part 2, Photography and the Disciples of Constable and Harding," History of Photography, v. 5 no. 1, January 1981, pp. 27-50.
2. WHFT would have recoiled at this suggestion, for his goal was to produce purely photographic plates, untouched by the hand of man.