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Document number: 7917
Date: 14 Jul 1859
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: PRETSCH Paul
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA59-038
Last updated: 11th December 2009

162, Great Portland Street,
W. –
July 14th 1859

Dear Sir,

Having been informed that you are in town just now, I take advantage of this opportunity, to request the favour of a personal interview with you. You know the purpose which has occupied my mind <1> since many years, and I flatter myself, you might agree with me, that a great deal more could be done for promoting the ultimate result by activity, then by suspense. If so, I think some way could be found out, to advance the interests <2> of all parties to their mutual benefit.

I beg for a reply at your earliest convenience, and remain with profound esteem

Dear Sir yours very faithfully
Paul Pretsch

H. Fox Talbot Esq


1. Pretsch had invented and patented a process for photographic engraving but WHFT claimed that it infringed his own [ Improvements in Photographic Engraving, No. 565 of October 1852]. Pretsch still hoped to be able to work his process although the company set up to do so had ceased trading. The Patent Photo-Galvanographic Company (commonly, The Photogalvanographic Company), based on the work of Pretsch, was located in Holloway Road, Islington, London, from 1856-1857. Pretsch took over as manager and Roger Fenton (1819–1869), photographer & lawyer, was a partner and their chief photographer. Starting in late 1856, they published a serial portfolio, Photographic Art Treasures, or Nature and Art Illustrated by Art and Nature, illustratated with photogalvanographs derived from several photographer's works. Photogalvanography was uncomfortably closely based on elements of WHFT’s patented 1852 Photographic Engraving but, unlike Talbot, the plates were heavily retouched by hand. Compounding the legal objections of Talbot, their former manager, Duncan Campbell Dallas, set up a competing company to produce the Dallastype. The company collapsed and near the end of 1860 Pretsch, out of money, allowed his patent to lapse. A public appeal was launched in 1861 to assist him but he returned to Vienna in 1863 in ill health, going back to the Imperial Printing Establishment, but finally succumbing to cholera.

2. Pretsch seems to have hoped that WHFT might buy out his patent, but see Doc. No: 07923.

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