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Document number: 6768
Date: 04 May 1853
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: BARCLAY George
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number: envelope 20851
Collection number historic: LA53-15
Last updated: 21st February 2012

22 Gerrard St
May 4 1853


I of course heard with much interest your account of the process and I have no hesitation in saying it is a discovery of the greatest advantage. age [sic] and many disappointments of expectations have tended to check the enthusiasm I have often felt in connexion with these scientific discoveries and I know how little one has to hope from the appreciation of the Public, that a life may pass away ere the world can be persuaded to reap the advantage offered.

I am not on this occasion then enthusiastic and can only attribute it to the fact of having been gradually prepared by you for the result for when your process comes to be understood and applied by practical hands, many operations of which you cannot have any idea will be adopted. How does the Brunswick black after the photographic process over a portion of the subject affect the gelatine? I ask this because you could recover the plate of the large fern for instance and cover it with lines from the muslin, then (you [illegible]) stop out all the plain surface by painting and the biting in would then give lines on the portion already but faintly delineated. in [sic] getting up an artistic effect repeated processes are necessary but this you do not at present want to enter into, though it must ultimately be done

I do not think you will find aquatint of any use. have [sic] you got over the trouble or difficulty in laying a ground

You are in error in fancying the lines should be close for a dark tint. they [sic] must be fine and tender for light tints and wide and stronger bit for dark

A great want is depth without that you cannot get power. somehow [sic] the process must be elongated to acquire that essential requisite. all [sic] your plates at present have a chalky look in consequence

Of course in ordinary etching the same results would take place there the engraver where he wants power as he knows he must have depth keeps the lines wider in order to allow them to extend as you find the [sic] do by biting deeper, and the graver tool enhances the depth still further, where it is necessary to stop the acid beginning to make the work coarse

The difficulty to be contended with of the absolute [illegible] of your lines precludes any extension of the bite. Could you discover any means by which the surface extension could be stop’d and the depth proceed it would be hailed with delight by the present race of engravers and with much complacency by those who will hereafter adopt your process.

I am sure after what you have here done – every thing is possible

The thick soft paper on which the proofs are taken takes so long to dry I shall not be able to get off more than 20 sets tomorrow by rail, but all the rest will follow on Friday or Saturday

When you obtain the bolting gause [sic] it therefore may probably be a question whether that is not too finely made, & whether a wider fabric of as equally fine a thread would not be desirable

Most Respectfully yrs
Geo Barclay

H. Fox Talbot Esq
Laycock Abbey

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