Ansd from Montpellier Sept. 17. 1826 <1>
Marquis of Lansdown’s <2> Villa
I thank you for the trouble you took in forwarding my paper to Dr Brewster. <3> I never received any answer from Fraunhofer <4> respecting
the your commission, which I attribute to his declining health. I have no doubt you are acquainted with his death, which is an incalculable loss to science. I am afraid his beautiful & valuable apparatus will fall into the hands of person unacquainted with the use of it. His method of making Flint Glass will be lost to the world as I am told it depended chiefly on his personal attention to the process as it went on & that the fumes of the lead were highly pernicious to his health. I saw your friend Amici <5> the other day, he is coming to London with a new invention which he expects will make a great sensation, he shewed it to me but I am not to divulge it. I hear your experiments on flint glass are more successful which I hope is the case. I received a letter from you at Florence the other day; when I was there I took a lesson from Pons <6> in the art of discovering comets; he shewed me the “comet of Taurus” on its return from the Southern Hemisphere, and I admired the dexterity with which he found it with a telescope unfurnished with any divided circles.
I remain Dear Sir Yours very truly
H. F. Talbot
2. Henry Petty Fitzmaurice, 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne (1780–1863), MP, WHFT’s uncle.
3. WHFT, ‘Some Experiments on Coloured Flames’, was published by Sir David Brewster (1781–1868), Scottish scientist & journalist, in The Edinburgh Journal of Science, v. 5 no. 1, June 1826, pp. 77–82.
4. Joseph von Fraunhofer (1787–1826), optician, Munich.
5. Prof Giovanni Battista Amici (1786–1868), Italian optician & man of science.
6. Jean Louis Pons (1761–1831), astronomer.