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Document number: 1452
Date: Jul 1826
Dating: answered Montpellier 17 Sep 1826
Recipient: HERSCHEL John Frederick William
Author: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Collection: Royal Society, London
Collection number: HS 17:261
Last updated: 30th April 2012

Ansd from Montpellier Sept. 17. 1826 <1>

Marquis of Lansdown’s <2> Villa
Richmond Hill,
July 1826

Dear Sir,

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


1. In Herschel’s hand, referring to Doc. No: 01480.

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.

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