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Document number: 04317
Date: 27 Jul 1841
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: BREWSTER David
Collection: National Science and Media Museum, Bradford
Collection number: 1937-4886
Last updated: 28th April 2010

Dear Sir,

As you have left me at the Stake <1> without any sympathy or counsel, I must beg you to let me know what you propose to do about the Royal Society affair; <2> as I have taken no steps & made no remonstrance since I learned that you were under the same disability.

I enclose some of the disjecta membra Photographorum <3>, which will shew you how completely your Process <4> has baffled us.

If you can make Pictures with the Papers prepared by Major Playfair, <5> we shall then find out where the fault lies.

The failures by Dr Adamson <6> have been injured by exposure to light. He finds the Salt a better Fixer than the Bromide. He says that the immersion in Water washes out the virtue, & he is anxious to have a mark <7> for the proper strength of the Acetic Acid.

I am anxious to receive from you a Negative & the Positive Picture taken from it.

I am Dear Sir Ever Most Truly yrs
D Brewster

St Leonards
St Andrews
July 27th 1841


1. See Brewster’s references to his martyrdom by the Royal Society of London in Doc. No: 04291.

2. See Doc. No: 04291.

3. Scattered limbs of Photographs [after disjecta membra, Ovid, Metamorphoses 3, l. 724.

4. The calotype process.

5. Sir Hugh Lyon Playfair (1786–1861), military & provost of St Andrew’s University.

6. Dr John Adamson (1809–1870), physician and pioneer of photography. See A. D. Morrison-Low, ‘Dr John Adamson and Robert Adamson: An Early Partnership in Scottish Photography’, The Photographic Collector, v. 2, 1983, pp. 198–214.

7. The level to be marked on the measuring-vessel for the correct volume.