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Document number: 7087
Date: Fri 08 Dec 1854
Recipient: STORY-MASKELYNE Nevil
Author: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Last updated: 1st September 2003

Mr Maskelyne

Friday Dec. 8

Dr Sir

Today I tried carefully Reade’s process <1> – gallonitrate on common paper, used moist. Compared with iodised paper, similarly circumstanced, the advantage in favor of the latter was much more than 100 to 1, nearer 1000 to 1. Two seconds sufficed for the iodised. My counsel <2> say it is most important to show the great superiority of my invention – I should therefore be glad if you or your assistant <3> would try the above expt and the following.

Paper brushed with gallonitrate and used dry.

To my surprize I found this totally insensible to light tho’ exposed one hour

Yours Truly

H. F. Talbot


1. Rev Joseph Bancroft Reade (1801–1870), microscopist & photographer, claimed in 1854 to have applied gallic acid in photography before WHFT enrolled his calotype patent (number 8,842) in 1841. For his account of Reade’s process, see Doc. No: 07004.

2. Talbot v. Laroche took place from Monday 18 to Wednesday 20 December 1854. In 1852 WHFT had thrown open his photographic patents as far as amateur photography was concerned, though he retained them regarding professional portraiture. He won several injunctions against professional portrait photographers, and in 1854 he sought to obtain one against William Henry Silvester, known professionally as Martin Laroche, who employed the collodion process. WHFT then found himself having to defend his right to his patents and even his claim to the invention of photography on paper.

3. Carl Ewald, Ph.D. See Doc. No: 07089.

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