Following the highly memorable Asia and John Thomson themed photography sale in October 2019, plans for the autumn 2020 photography sale are fast taking shape. Continuing the Far Eastern theme the sale includes an album of photographs of Ootacamund and the Nilgiri Hills by A.T.W. Penn, c. 1875-1905 (£300-500), an album of platinum print photographs of India by talented amateur Victor Pont (£1,000-1,500), a rare copy of C.J. Kleingrothe's Malay Peninsula, 1907 (£2,000-3,000), albums relating to Tientsin, southwest China and Indochina, Japan and China, and an Asian voyage to include China and Hong Kong (various dates and estimates); plus four lots of photographs of Nepalese royalty and nobility including an unusual finely hand-coloured official coronation photograph of Maharaja Dev Shamsher, of Nepal, in 1901 (£1,000-1,500).
Fashion makes an appearance again with a 3-volume work, Les Actualités de L’Elégance, c.1914-25 (£4,000-6,000) with over 700 original photographs of European ladies' fashions of the day. Jumping forward in time there will be a second selection of fashion contact prints by legendary LIFE photographer Martin Munkacsi, large format theatrical portraits by Angus McBean and a Robert Self limited edition Man Ray double exposure photograph of Kiki de Montparnasse titled Demain (£1,500-2,000).
The 1960s feature in a never-before-seen collection of negatives of the Beatles taken in April 1964 during the filming of their first feature film A Hard Day's Night. Just back from their first American tour, the film was a rushed project to capture the Beatlemania fad before their 'five-minute' fame passed! Largely taken at Marylebone Station and in the Garrison Room and gardens at Les Ambassadeurs club, London, the photographs also feature shots with co-star Wilfrid 'Steptoe' Brambell, schoolgirl Pattie Boyd (to become the wife of George Harrison) and inspired director Richard Lester. The collection, split into twelve lots carries a total estimate of £10,000-15,000 and the medium format and 35mm negatives come with full copyright.
The sale will also include a private collection of cartes-de-visite albums sold as multiple lots, a very rare book on the Lancashire cotton industry in Italian, Scarti di Cotone, 1920, with fourteen tipped-in photogravures by Alvin Langdon Coburn (£500-800), assorted albums and folders, individual prints, military cased images, cameras and accessories.
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The autumn military and aviation sale will feature a further selection from the astonishing military library of Lt. Col. R.J. 'Bob' Wyatt MBE TD, largely relating to wars and campaigns of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
The sale centerpiece looks set to be a collection of artefacts from the family of Sir Barnes Neville Wallis CBE FRS RDI FRAeS (1887-1979), including a small and important collection of Dambusters and other material belonging to the great English scientist, engineer and inventor.
Notable highlights include two oil paintings of airships by Alfred Egerton Cooper (1883-1974). Both relate to the surrendering of the German navy in 1918 and feature the airborne airships NS7 and R26, the latter of which Barnes Wallis co-designed for Vickers with H.B. Pratt (£2,000-3,000 each). Barnes Wallis worked for Vickers from 1913 and was involved in airship design up until the R100, a project that was grounded after the fatal crash of the R101 in France in October 1930.
Barnes Wallis's fame lies most famously with his invention of the bouncing bombs used in Operation Chastise (the "Dambusters" raid), led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson, to attack the dams of the Ruhr Valley during World War II. On offer will be a menu signed by Guy Gibson for Barnes Wallis at a celebratory dinner the two had at the Oatlands Park Hotel, Weybridge, Surrey, on 23rd June 1943 (£1,000-1,500). Their shared dinner of cold lobster, grilled chicken and mushrooms, took place the night after the Dambusters dinner celebration organised by A.V. Roe & Co. at the Hungaria Restaurant, Regents Street, London.
The Dam Busters raid was made world-famous by the eponymous best-selling book by Paul Brickhill (1951) and film based on the book (1955). The sale includes a copy of a first edition of Paul Brickhill's book with signed presentation inscription to Barnes Wallis, 'Without whom there would have been no squadron and no book' (£700-1,000); and a photograph of Barnes Wallis standing next to the actor Michael Redgrave in the role of Barnes Wallis for the film, signed by Michael Redgrave (£300-500).
Other highlights are a Barnes Wallis model for testing angles of wings for 'swing wing' aircraft, c. 1960 (£700-1,000); a manuscript calculus, trigonometry and physics course written for his young wife-to-be Molly Bloxam, 1922-24 (£2,000-3,000) and a sensational, emotionally super-charged letter of congratulations written to Barnes Wallis by his 16-year-old schoolgirl daughter Mary on hearing the news of the success of the Dambusters raid and fondly remembering her father's experiments with marbles in their garden which led to the bouncing bomb design:
'Hooray, hooray, hooray!!!!! Wonderful marbles. Up the marbles … As a matter of fact as soon as I read in the paper about the bombing of the dams in Germany I guessed that the kitchen bath tub and that wonderful erection of the garden table and kitchen chairs, and the complicated string-moving-up-and-down business, and the cold, cold water spilt in vain efforts to fill the tub, and the wild shrieks from Lis when the marbles lost themselves in the onion bed, and the impossible task of trying to see whether a minute marble bounced under or over a wobbley piece of string, were not in vain. Really, I have quite a maternal feeling for the little dears after all that…' (£700-1,000).
The sale also includes the usual array of aviation and military artefacts, medals and memorabilia with further entries invited.
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