1 Hillside Crescent, Edinburgh
16 April 1863
Yours of the 13th, & the large size photoglyphs have duly arrived & I have looked at them all over & over again, before attempting to write to you about them, though indeed I ought to have thanked you, for what you have so kindly done, sooner.
The copper-plate, is no doubt, as you say, a failure, & yet, poor thing, it has tried hard to render some natural pictures, such as the water-washed ravines under the low bend of the crater wall; & has put them in, in a style that an artist might envy, so freely, easily, & illustratively.
The steel plate has an immense deal of subject in it, and if it had not been from the same negative that the Stationery Office is printing from in London, photographically or Talbotively, I should have been much disposed to remain content with it. Yet it is not all that a photoglyph might & should be, & though the comparison of the photoglyph & photograph, will still be only a comparison between two of your own methods, yet there would be advantages in having either method equally well represented.
You are kind enough to say that you will try again in a few days. In such case, however, pray don’t have anything to do with the large plates. I have been examining the negative of which a positive copy is required to balance the other negative of the same subject which the Stationery Office is printing from,- & I think that all the chief parts which are necessary to have in duplicate, can be compressed into a stereoscopic sized plate, viz. 3·25 by 6.·75 inches. I shall therefore try to prepare you one of that size, very intense in the darks, & very clear in the lights (to which end I have got some of the “extra white” glass of the Birmingham makers), & hope soon to send it for your approval, in the same little box which you so considerately returned.
Meanwhile pray don’t let any harm come to the steel plate “Mount Guajara”, for it has some fine characteristics which rather grow upon me.
The Stationery Office is now at work in earnest, & sent last week four proofs (Talbotype) of each of the 12 negatives they are printing from, as a sample.
Yours very truly,
C. Piazzi Smyth
H. Fox Talbot Esqr
H. Fox Talbot Esqr. F.R.S.
&c &c &c
11 Great Stuart Street