Margam Park <1>
March 13 1844
My dear Sir,
I am so perfectly enchanted with your beautiful Calotypes of which I find a new book here,<2> that I cannot forbear writing you a line, which I am sure you will answer with your accustomed kindness: will you be so good as to explain to me whether you have discovered any improvements in the process, and if so what they are; also whether you have succeeded in procuring better paper: as the wonderful beauty of your latter views appears to be attributable to one or both of these causes.
The dreadful blotches arising from the inequality of texture in the paper principally discouraged me in working more on the process; but now that I see the perfection you have attained, I am most anxious to attempt what I was disappointed in doing 3 years ago; namely Calotyping Venice. <3>
I am the more induced to make an essay in your process from the fact (which I am sure you will not accuse me of self conceit in mentioning, as it is only an affair of patience and dexterity of manipulation) that I have succeeded perfectly in Daguerreotyping, and have done numbers which cannot be surpassed: I shd therefore be pleased to shew you something equally good of Calotypes.
I hope that you were pleased with M. Bayard’s <4> specimens, has he yet published his method? its slowness is its greatest objection: but also I have never seen any of his general views at all equal to yours.
M. Claudet <5> sent me lately some specimens of etchings from Daguerreotype plates which he is trying to work out after a method of (I think) M. Fizeau: <6> they were interesting but rather faint; and I think the grossness of printers ink must always unfit it for giving the half shadows and fine gradation of such a delicate etching as the plates must produce.
Your [illegible deletion] Stationer Oxford Street sent me some paper without his address, which I have totally forgotten and consequently been unable to pay him would you be kind enough to give me his name and number.
With many apologies for trespassing on your valuable time, which I trust my admiration of your discovery will excuse
I am yours very truly
Calvert R. Jones.
H. F. Talbot Esqr
1. Margam Park, Glamorgan: home of Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot.
2. Although WHFT's book, The Pencil of Nature was about to be issued, there were no advance copies, so this 'book' must have been an album.
4. Hippolyte Bayard (1801–1887), French photographic inventor working with paper processes. Jones and Bayard photographed together at Paris in 1841.
5. Antoine Françoise Jean Claudet (1797–1867), London; French-born scientist, merchant & photographer, resident in London.
6. Armand Hippolyte Louis Fizeau (1819–1896), physicist and member of Académie des Sciences. In 1841, Fizeau announced his invention of a galvanic process whereby a daguerreotype plate could be turned directly into a printing plate. In November 1843, Antoine Claudet took out the English patent for this process. These prints did not become widespread, but three of them can be found in Nicolas Marie Paymal, Excursions Daguerriennes (Paris: 1842).