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Document number: 6260
Date: 09 Aug 1849
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: MALONE Thomas Augustine
Collection: National Science and Media Museum, Bradford
Collection number: 1937-4975
Last updated: 10th July 2010

London 122 Regent St <1>
9 August 1849

To H.F. Talbot Esqr


The last few days have been busy ones with us we have had 4 sets of apparatus ordered & all wanted immediately. This is an unusual amount of good fortune.

Enclosed are specimens of the new fixing & obtaining particular tints of colour. There are 4 green pictures together these have undergone the process completely as far as the decomposition of the hyposulphite of soda –– they can be made brown.

There is a green one half restored to brown this may be considered as fixed. It is a view of Clare Hall Cambridge.

There are 4 brown ones (perhaps) not fixed only changed from purple to a good brown. These would have been green if the process had been continued. There is one with 3 tints, the original –– the 1st brown & the green. It is a view of Pompeii.

There is a portrait of a little boy –– dipped to show the change from red to brown. This can be made green the paper contracts & thickens under the new treatment. I think it becomes stronger.

This specimen shows the contraction by it “puckering”

The half pictures are sent to show the change of color –– they are not coloured brown artificially the drying over a spirit lamp has browned them a little –– but not enough. They are marked at the back.

Sizing & hot pressing would improve the pictures & should be adopted.

I am so confident that the process will work well that I think it should be secured.

If you add it to your patent will it not be equivalent to a fourteen years extension of your present patent.

The process might be mentioned in this way. A method of obtaining uniform colours in the Talbotype <2> & other photographic processes & for more securely fixing the images so obtained.

I have had no time to dry the specimens & the fire seems to alter the green colour you wished to see.

I remain sir yours most obediently
T A Malone


1. The London address of the Sun Picture Rooms, proprietor, Nicolaas Henneman (1813–1898), Dutch, active in England; WHFT’s valet, then assistant; photographer.

2. Monochromatic colours ranging from reddish through purplish browns were a natural outcome of the printing process. However, undetectable variations in chemistry and paper had frustrated WHFT's early efforts to obtain a predictable colour in his prints. In his introduction to The Pencil of Nature, he commented, "these tints, however, might undoubtedly be brought nearer to uniformity, if any great advantage appeared likely to result: but, several persons of taste having been consulted on the point, viz. which tint on the whole deserved a preference, it was found that their opinions offered nothing approaching to unanimity, and therefore, as the process present us spontaneously with a variety of shades of colour, it was thought best to admit whichever appeared pleasing to the eye, without aiming at an uniformity which is hardly obtainable."

Result number 18 of 51:   < Back     Back to results list   Next >