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Document number: 03843
Date: 21 Mar 1839
Recipient: HERSCHEL John Frederick William
Author: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Collection: Royal Society, London
Collection number: HS 17:289
Last updated: 21st March 2010

21 March /39

Dear Sir

The muriatic ether forms no part of Daguerre’s grand process; <1> but it is only a sensitive paper which he has set up in opposition to mine: not near so good I think.

The enclosed scrap <2> is to illustrate what I call “Every man his own printer & publisher” – to enable poor authors to make facsimiles of their own handwriting–

It is a poor specimen, the hyposulphite having failed somehow to do its duty.

I have sent your photographs to Humboldt. <3>– I [illegible deletion] send you a flower of heath, not fixed.<4>In the Comptes Rendus <5> of the 18th & 25th Feb. you will find much, most interesting matter from Biot & Becquerel, & Daguerre’s paper described. <6>

Yours truly
H. F. Talbot


1. That is, using muriatic (or chlorohydric or hydrochloric ether) was supposed to be a part of only the paper process, not the daguerreotype.

2. This has not been located with Herschel's collections.

3. This letter to Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859), German scientist, not located.

4. This was a specimen of Erica mutabilis, signed and dated March 1839. See Larry J. schaaf, The Photographic Art of William Henry Fox Talbot (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000), plate 8.

5. Comptes Rendus hebdomadaires des séances de l’ de l’Académie des Sciences.

6. Jean-Baptiste Biot (1774–1862), French scientist, Alexandre Edmond Becquerel (1820–1891), physicist, and Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre (1787–1851), French artist, showman & inventor.