22nd July 1865
I have been delaying to write & thank you for the trouble you have taken in the preparation of the plates from the ivory carving until I could hear the opinion of the Executive Committee of the Society of Antiquaries respecting the diminished size which you propose. The Committee I am sorry to say feel that as the Archeologia is printed of a quarto size, there would be a difficulty in using a plate of such
small dimensions as those you propose as it would leave so large a margin on their page. Anything much less than the 6½ x 5, the size of the engraved part of your plate, would it is feared look too small. The border is a matter of no consequence as it is not original, but it would be just as well if it appeared in the engraving.
The original ivory is at home, & I have therefore no opportunity of procuring any other photograph of it.
As regards the plates you have executed, parts of each are as good as could be desired for the purpose, but unfortunately other parts are defective in both. I really very much appreciate your kindness in being willing to try again, but at the same time hardly know how to ask you to take so much trouble. If the defects in the photograph are such as to make you feel doubtful of succeeding in producing a satisfactory result, it would probably not be worthwhile that you should give yourself any further trouble about the matter, but if on the other hand you think it probable that a better plate could be got, it might (always of course supposing that you do not mind taking the trouble) be better to try do so [sic]. As the Archeologia is a purely Antiquarian publication truth & accuracy are more desired than beauty & though no doubt a more pleasing effect might be obtained by reducing the size, as the coarseness is in the original its existence in the print would be a matter of no great consequence.
If all came out as well as the figure of the soldier on the left in plate No 1. it would I should say do very well indeed.
With renewed apologies for giving you so much trouble believe me to remain
Very faithfully yours
H. F. Talbot Esqre
[envelope:, back flap imprinted 'Kidbrooke Park, East Grinstead']
H.F. Talbot Esqre.