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Document number: 4744
Date: 02 Mar 1843
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: JONES Calvert Richard
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA43-033
Last updated: 22nd March 2010

Heathfield. <1>
March. 2. 1843.

My dear Sir,

I am afraid that you imagine I either underrate or have not fairly tried your beautiful discovery; neither of which I assure you is the case; I admire it beyond measure, and tried it at Paris with M. Reynault and M. Bayard <2> (the latter succeeded in making an excellent portrait of myself) the only thing which deterred me from doing much more was the apparent want of a more perfect and sure medium of transmission in the way of paper As we found it continually playing tricks in the form of blotches and spots. if you could refer me to any means of avoiding these, I shd be very much obliged.

M. Bayard’s process is quite different from yours, he blackens the paper in the light before putting it in the Camera, previously to which he dips it in a certain liquid, which renders it sensitive to light which thus produces a positive picture; although, therefore you are obliged to have a seperate [sic] process for each picture (though I should conceive they might be repeated by your sensitive paper) the effect produced is wonderfully sharp and powerful.

With respect to the time required it is much inferior to the Calotype as it requires 10 minutes even in sunlight to make a good picture and is therefore inapplicable to Portraits.

M. Bayard succeeded while I was in Paris last May in making the pictures, after setting, perfectly impervious to light; and some days after I saw him recieve [sic] from the Société d’Encouragement 4000 francs, he was obliged, in case of his death to deposit the secret with Baron Seguier, <3> who told me that the method was wonderfully simple; I rather believe he will be obliged to publish it after some certain time, what that is I do not know. In the meanwhile it was proposed to get up a subscription generally, to induce him to reveal it sooner; whether it has proceeded I know not.

Have you never tried any positive paper? or has Sir J. Herschel <4> succeeded in fixing his?

I tried to apply your method to the French Isinglass paper, <5> but found it shrink and spoil by the immersion.

If you have the least specimen of your latter works to spare you will additionally oblige

yours very truly
Calvert R Jones.

Have you ever tried a paper exposed to the vapours of mercury, mentioned by Mr Hunt, <6> at the end of his pamphlet, called, I think, Griffins Scientific Miscellany. If you could give me any information respecting Photography I shall be sincerely obliged.


1. Jones’ family home near Swansea.

2. Henri Victor Regnault (1810–1878), professor of chemistry at the École polytechnique, then professor of physics at the Collège de France, and, early on, an accomplished photographer with the Calotype process. Hippolyte Bayard (1801–1887), French photographic inventor working with paper processes, among those, a direct positive process. Jones’ photographic album contains two photographs by Bayard, one of ‘Plaster Casts in the Artist’s Studio’, and one ‘View over Paris with Montmatre in the distance’, reproduced in Larry J. Schaaf, Sun Pictures Catalogue Five: The Reverend Calvert R. Jones (New York: Hans P. Kraus, Jr., Inc, 1990), pp. 28–29.

3. Armand Pierre Séguier, Baron (1803–1876), scientist.

4. Sir John Frederick William Herschel (1792–1871), astronomer & scientist.

5. Paper coated with isinglass, a gelatinous semitransparent substance obtained by cleaning and drying the air bladders of the sturgeon, cod, hake, and other fishes.

6. Robert Hunt (1807–1887), scientist & photographic historian. Robert Hunt, Popular Treatise on the Art of Photography, including Daguerréotype, and All the New Methods of Producing Pictures by the Agency of Light (Glasgow: Richard Griffin and Co, 1841).

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