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Document number: 8717
Date: 06 Jun 1863
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: SMYTH Charles Piazzi
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Last updated: 20th November 2012


June 6 1863

Dear Sir,

That has just occurred which I mentioned in my letter of May 9 to you, <1> might occur during your absence; viz, the arrival of the Photo. printed plates for our Obsy volume,<2> from the Stationery Office in London. We are therefore engaged in making up the volume for publication, and if I do not hear from you to the contrary, I shall mention in the preface that you have kindly engraved an important accompaniment to one of the photograph plates, and that it may appear on a future occasion, if not now & I remain

Dear sir Yours very truly
C. Piazzi Smyth



1. This letter has not been located. However, there is an unusually large envelope in the British Library, London, Fox Talbot Collection (Acc no 21777) in which it was mailed. It is postmarked 9 May 1863 from Edinburgh and addressed:
H. Fox Talbot Esqr LLD
11 Great Stuart Street
Millburn Tower

2. This refers to the photoglyphic engraving plate that WHFT made for Smyth's report on his 1856 expedition to Teneriffe. The photogravure was published along with several albumen prints. As Smyth astutely observed in his introduction, “To the inventor alike of photography and photoglyphy, it must be comparatively indifferent by which of his two methods these unusual Teneriffe landscapes are introduced into this book, though to readers in a future century it may make a great difference; for the photoglyph must last as long as the paper it is printed on, but the photograph may go the way of some of those beautiful specimens exhibited last year at the International Exhibition, and which faded before the eyes of the nations then assembled.” Charles Piazzi Smyth, Astronomical Observations Made at the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh, vol. XII1, 1855-1859 (Edinburgh: Neill and Co., 1863). For a fuller discussion of Talbot’s experiments in this period, see Larry J. Schaaf, “Piazzi Smyth at Teneriffe: Part 2, Photography and the Disciples of Constable and Harding,” History of Photography, v. 5 no. 1, January 1981, pp. 27-50.

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