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Document number: 5797
Date: 12 Dec 1846
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: BRIDGES George Wilson
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA46-138
Last updated: 11th December 2010

Malta –
12th Decr

My dear Sir/

I enclose some negatives with memoranda, which I think your goodness will attend to – I quite despair of the copying process – which is sadly discouraging, after trying so many months in vain. – I trust your science & assiduity will overcome the difficulties which beset it, & render the art so very imperfect. – I very seldom fail in the negatives – but I am inclined to think that when the Sirocco blows here, (of late the prevailing wind) it deranges the whole chemical effect – the copies invariably became spotted – & often the negatives absorb the specks from them. – That wind is a mystery – dry paint becomes sticky – meat putrid – every thing humid & unwholesome – I send a specimen of a good portrait taken during a Sirocco. Pray tell me your opinion of the negatives, as to clearness – & cooking <1> – 4’ to 4½’ without much sun – sometimes none – when bright 3’. – Is it possible to make one coat of nit. silv. <2> effective on the salted paper? such is the direction Mr Jones <3> gave me – but I cannot succeed with it – even at 100 gr to an oz. water. I use 2 coats – 50 gr–1 oz. each. I have not yet received the copies of Mr Jones’ views – nor the iodised paper <4> – perhaps my Brother <5> is sending them. Will you oblige me by letting your people <6> send the copies as I have noted upon them: – also a copy of the waxed one of the Bp. Jerusalem <7>, to each of the three persons named for the others – & 4 to me – My Brother will forward them from Warnford Court, Throgmorton street, London – or any thing directed to me under cover to Mr Muir <8>, Malta, will be forwarded every fortnight if sent to Mr Calvert Esqre<9> 5 Lyons Inn, Strand.

I cannot help putting in a specimen of a good negative spoiled by the Sirocco, as I conceive – I am going to Gozo next week – but I fear you will cry stop, enough. –

With compts to Mrs Talbot <10> – & love to your dear children, pray believe me, my dear Sir,

very truly Yours
Geo W. Bridges

I have no doubt Mr Jones views will sell here: but have no idea of the price. – You will have received I trust the a letter <11> I sent by mistake thro’ Jones last week – with a request to have a copy sent to my Sister <12>, of the enclosed sketch of her son. – but these portraits I have done with. – The good Bishop of Jerusalem sails for Syria tomorrow – & particularly wishes that copies may be sent to the persons named – I hope to follow him, when I am more perfect in the art. – & when my sailor boy <13> returns from the Tagus. – I have more views on Etna if you wish to have them – Tho’ mainly from the same points as those sent. –


1. Exposure time.

2. Silver nitrate on salted paper.

3. Rev Calvert Richard Jones (1802–1877), Welsh painter & photographer.

4. Paper prepared for being used as calotype negatives.

5. John Bridges.

6. Probably Nicolaas Henneman (1813–1898), Dutch, active in England; WHFT’s valet, then assistant; photographer and Benjamin Cowderoy (1812–1904), land agent in Reading; business manager for WHFT; later a politician in Australia.

7. Samuel Gobat (1799–1879), Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem from 1846 until his death in 1879; he became Vice-Principal of the Malta Protestant College in February 1846, but on 9 April 1846 he was appointed to fill the vacant Bishopric at Jerusalem by the King of Prussia.

8. Probably George Muir Jnr. (1813–1868), bookseller in Malta.

9. William Calvert, Esq.

10. Constance Talbot, nιe Mundy (1811–1880), WHFT’s wife.

11. See Doc. No: 05784.

12. Mrs Dewell and her son, possibly Charles Dewell, Captain in India until ca. 1861, when he left for Malmesbury, Wiltshire to set up a Catholic congregation.

13. Capt. William Wilson Somerset Bridges (1831-1889), RN. He was serving on the ships Volage and Hibernia, surveying different parts of the Mediterranean.

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