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Document number: 4926
Date: 29 Jan 1844
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: SHAW George
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA44-2
Last updated: 4th February 2013

Temple Row West
29th Jany 1844

H. F. Talbot Esqre


I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your favour of the 21st inst<1> enclosing specimens of the Calotype process and your paper on that subject. I thank you for the present of specimens and also for your kindness in allowing me to exhibit the process in my lectures. I shall take care to acknowledge your kind permission during the lectures. One of the specimens is particularly beautiful and exceeds by far anything I obtained when I experimented on the subject I succeeded in procuring (but not uniformly so) excellent negative pictures but never succeeded in printing them with the distinctness some of your specimens present, the paper always appeared to a considerable extent opaque – the yellow colour too of the white parts was a difficulty I never succeeded in overcoming with certainty sometimes the white parts were tolerably pure and at others they were much coloured By the account of your recent patent in the Chemical Gazette I perceive you have overcome this difficulty. I was also much annoyed by the rapid decomposition of the Gallo nitrate mixture and made many experiments in the hope of avoiding it but unsuccessfully. I distinctly recollect trying to impregnate the paper with Gallic acid (as is your io-gallic paper) but from some cause or other the paper always turned brown. I am convinced from an inspection of your specimens that the paper you employ is much more uniform in texture than any I have been able to get. My want of uniform results induced me to procure some of the iodized paper sold in London but I found it worse than my own. I also experimented on the different methods of preparing the iodized paper suggested by different experimenters but with little advantage. Occasionally as before remarked I succeeded in producing perfect specimens but want of uniformity most annoyed me. I have several cameras – one by [Bason?] (which I prefer to the others) two by Lerebours <2> – one by a french maker made at the first publication of Daguerre’s process <3> and another by an english maker. Two of them are double achromatics without Stop and the others plano-convex achromatics with stops and as the daguerreotypes produced with them equal anything I have seen I believe them to be of good quality. I am glad to see that you intend publishing a more detailed account of your experiments and do not doubt that having the advantage of your long experience the process will be found simple in execution.

I again thank you for your kindness and beg to assure you that I shall gladly avail myself of any opportunity to discharging the obligation under which you have placed me.

I remain Sir Yours truly
George Shaw


1. Letter not located.

2. Noel Paymal Lerebours (1807–1873), optician, of Lerebours & Secretan, Paris.

3. He could be speaking of January 1839, when Daguerre first announced his discovery, or more likely August 1839, when he finally made the manipulatory details known.

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