16 Aout 1866
A Monsieur Talbot à Lacock Abbey
Les sept photographies gravées que vous m’avez envoyée me sont arrivées en parfait etat et completement affranchies. Elles m’ont paru bien supérieures a toutes celles que j’ai vue jusqu’à présent et comme finisse de détail elles ne laissent rien a désirer. Je me propose de faire cet automne une excursion en Normandie et en rapporter quelques vues dans le format <1> de celles du midi de la France et que je tiendrai a votre disposition si vous le [illegible deletion]désiriez. Je ne crois pas qu’il soit possible d’avoir des épreuves positives sur verre assez bonnes pour la gravure en employant des petits négatifs pour stéréoscopes et les agrandissant par l’appareil solaire. <2>
Je vous remercie pour l’envoi des 96 francs que Monsieur [Ferrier?] Laffite m’a payé.
En attendant l’honneur de vous lire recevez Monsieur l’assurance de mes sentiments les plus distingués.
16 August 1866
To Mr Talbot at Lacock Abbey
The seven engraved photographs that you sent me arrived in perfect condition and with sufficient postage. They seemed to me to be very much superior to all those which I have seen until now, and the execution of the detail leaves nothing to be desired. I intend to make an excursion to Normandy this autumn and bring back some views of the same format from the South of France which I will make available to you should you so desire. I do not believe it is possible to have positive proofs on glass good enough for engraving by using small negatives for stereoscopes and enlarging them by means of the solar apparatus.
I thank you for sending the 96 Francs paid to me by Mr [Ferrier?] Laffite.
In awaiting the honour of receiving word from you accept Sir the assurance of my highest regards.
1. Around this time, WHFT had begun to perfect his photoglyphic engraving process to the point where it was nearly competitive with the commercial photogravure productions that would emerge shortly after his death. In addition to having finer tone, these images were larger than previous examples, approximately 20 x 25 cm. Two that are believed to be derived from Ferrier photographs are illustrated in Larry J Schaaf, Sun Pictures Catalogue 12: Talbot & Photogravure (New York: Hans P Kraus, Jr, Inc, 2003), plates 53-54.
2. For many of his photographic engraving and photoglyphic engraving experiments, WHFT had employed one-half of readily available and convenient sterero views, which were approximately 10 cm. square. Solar enlargers positioned a small negative between a condensing lens and a projection lens, which cast an enlarged image onto a sensitive plate. The apparatus was pointed towards the sun and repositioned as necessary during the sometimes long exposure. The results were often suitable for portraiture, but inevitably the details were softened.