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Document number: 4264
Date: 29 May 1841
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: JONES Calvert Richard
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA41-34
Last updated: 25th July 2012

May 29. 1841.

My dear Sir,

We talk of starting for Italy in about a fortnight, viâ Paris, and being very anxious to see how photography prospers there, as well as other places, I should be particularly obliged if you wd be so kind as to give me a line of introduction to M. Biot; <1> who wd no doubt enable me to prosecute any enquiries on the subject.

I thank you for the notice of the Calotype, which you were good enough to send me and have been ever since most anxious to see a more detailed account of the method if you have made it known, I shd be most grateful for any description, as it would save me much trouble, weight, and expence to substitute that method for the plates <2> on which I hope to photographize Venice. The effect also I shd imagine is much more pictorial. I hope you saw the views of Margam <3> which I did for your cousin Talbot: they were done by an apparatus made by Davidson <4> of Edinburgh whose modifications are certainly improvements on Daguerre’s system.

I conclude you have before this seen my friend Dr Schafhaeutl, <5> who is in London, his method does not seem to have produced any practical results.

If you will add the smallest specimen of the Calotype, you will confer an additional favour on

yours truly obliged
Calvert R. Jones.


1. Jean-Baptiste Biot (1774–1862), French scientist.

2. Jones was a daguerreotypist up to this point, but would soon be persuaded by its cumbersome metal plates and non-reproducibility that WHFT's approach on paper was more to his liking.

3. Margam Park, Glamorgan: home of Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot. This full-plate daguerreotype of Margam is held by the National Library of Wales and is the only known surviving product of Jones’ career as a daguerreotypist.

4. Thomas Davidson (1798–1878), scientific instrument maker and Daguerreotypist. He was the author of The Art of Daguerreotyping, with the Improvements of the Process and Apparatus (Edinburgh: 1841).

5. Dr Karl Emil von Schafhäutl (1803–1890), photographer, music theorist & geologist; Schafhaeutl invented different direct positive processes, they were however not easy to practise.

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