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Document number: 2339
Date: 08 Apr 1832
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: BREWSTER David
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA32-014
Last updated: 21st February 2010

My Dear Sir,

I write you very hurriedly to say that I shall be most happy to receive your Paper on the Phenomena of Crystallisation observed with a Microscope <1> or on any other subject.

I hope you will not allow any of your valuable observations to be lost. Even if you dislike publishing them you ought to preserve them in a regular journal of Experiments. <2>

I shall follow your advice in publishing as soon as I can my Observations on the Spectrum; <3> but I must make one expt with the lime light to ascertain the position in artificial light of the extreme line A

Ever Most Truly yrs

D Brewster

Allerly by Melrose

April 8th 1832

H. F. Talbot Esqr
31 Sackville Street


1. See Doc. No: 02670.

2. WHFT, in fact, had kept a series of informal journals since at least 1822. Most are in the Fox Talbot Collection, the British Library, and are listed in H J P Arnold, William Henry Fox Talbot; Pioneer of Photography and Man of Science (London: Hutchinson Benham, Ltd, 1977), pp. 362–363. His two journals most critical to photography were donated to the Science Museum and are now in the NMeM, Bradford; they are reproduced in facsimile and transcribed in Larry J Schaaf, Records of the Dawn of Photography; Talbot’s Notebooks P & Q (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996). WHFT’s notebooks are an eclectic mix of inspirations, experiments, examples imperfectly recalled, and memoranda to himself. A much more organized series of research experiments is reflected in Herschel’s notebooks preserved in the Science Museum Library; they have yet to be analyzed and collated with Herschel’s surviving notes. Brewster’s notebooks were probably lost in the house fire after his death.

3. David Brewster, ‘Observations on the lines of the Solar Spectrum, and on those produced by the Earth’s Atmosphere, and by the Action of Nitrous Acid Gas’, Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, v. 12, 1834, pp. 519–530.

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