Due to new lockdown restrictions Dominic Winter’s photography auction set for 18th November is rescheduled for Wednesday 16th December with a revised viewing period from Monday 7th December (strictly by pre-booked appointment and subject to any revised COVID-19 restrictions). Meanwhile the catalogue is viewable online in various formats at the auctioneer’s website.
In a bumper sale of over 400 lots it is hard to pick one single special theme but the predominance of China and Japan material is irresistible. When a privately owned collection of 90 photographs of China, Formosa and Japan in the 1860s recently came to light there was understandable excitement. The distinctive hand of John Thomson was familiar and easily recognised and the knee-jerk reaction was that most of the other photographs would be found to be by Felice Beato. However, on closer study something much more intriguing transpired and as the name of Beato faded away so the somewhat surprising name of the lesser-known American photographer Charles Leander Weed took centre stage.
Charles Weed (1824-1903) is most famous for his pioneering mammoth-plate photographs of Yosemite but knowledge of his work from his two periods based in China (1860-61 & 1866-70) is far hazier. Weed photographed in Japan in 1867 during his second period out East and took photographs with both his mammoth-plate and stereoview cameras. Many of the photographs were published in an Oriental Scenery series in both formats by Thomas Houseworth of San Francisco in 1869. However, not only was Weed uncredited but neither series appears to have been successful and, as a result, only handfuls of these Weed photographs are known institutionally and privately today. The collection is offered in 50 lots and represents half of the photography lots with a Far Eastern theme.
A further 70 lots of travel photography features India, Nepal, Cuba, West Indies, South America, etc., a good album with large-format views of Europe by Bisson Freres, Edouard Baldus, Robert Macpherson, et al. (1850s to early 1860s), albums of Greece, Turkey and one of USA in the 1880s (with 135 albumen prints by Carleton Watkins, Isaiah Taber, William H. Jackson et al.), plus an album of remote St Kilda in the 1880s with interesting provenance.
The 19th-century theme continues with photographs by Roger Fenton, Julia Margaret Cameron, Oscar Rejlander, Robert Macpherson, two rare salt prints by Peter Hinckes Bird, and a fine large-format print of Gustave Le Gray’s Brick au Claire de Lune, 1856, which graces the front cover of the catalogue.
Military photography is especially well represented with nearly 100 lots, of which nearly a half are daguerreotypes and ambrotypes of British officers, from the collection of Jack Webb. Star of the section is a three-quarter-plate daguerreotype group portrait taken outdoors at Dum Dum Artillery Station, Calcutta, February 1847.
The 20th century material includes a never-before-seen collection of negatives of the Beatles taken by Lord Christopher Thynne in April 1964 during the filming of the Beatles’ 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, 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 is split into 11 lots with varied estimates, and the medium format and 35mm negatives come with full copyright.
Fashion makes an appearance with a monumental 3-volume work, Les Actualités de L’Elégance, c.1914-25, while other 20th-century work includes signed photographs by Alberto Korda, Yousuf Karsh, Martin Parr, a special signed print of Christine Keeler by Lewis Morley, and a group of 4 photographs from the Cottingley Fairies series.
The sale is rounded out with lots of cartes de visite, stereoviews, glass negatives and lantern slides, assorted albums and folders, individual prints, cameras and accessories.
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Due to lockdown restrictions the spring photography sale was postponed and now, with the latest lockdown restrictions, the 19 November sale has been pushed back a further month. Please note that this new date and the viewing arrangements are subject to change and dependent on the latest government guidance which will be updated at the beginning of December. Please check back here or contact the saleroom office for future updates.
The centrepiece of this much-anticipated sale is a collection of papers, pictures and artefacts from the family of Sir Barnes Neville Wallis CBE FRS RDI FRAeS (1887-1979).
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. 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 is 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. 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'; 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.
Other highlights are a Barnes Wallis model for testing angles of wings for 'swing wing' aircraft, c. 1960; a manuscript calculus, trigonometry and physics course written for his young wife-to-be Molly Bloxam, 1922-24 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:
Complementing these remarkable ephemeral items, and on a completely different scale altogether, is a one-and-a-half-ton 3-blade propeller from a Heninkel III H-3 shot down by Guy Gibson off Skegness Pier, 15 March 1941.
Winston Churchill looms large in the Library of Major Alan Taylor-Smith (1928-2019), comprising 50 lots of early works, signed books and letters, pictures and ephemera and, most notably, a finely bound set of the major works in 47 volumes, with The Malakand Field Force being an inscribed presentation copy from Churchill to the regimental sergeant-major of his first regiment, the 4th (Queen’s Own) Hussars.
The 459-lot sale is rounded out with sections of aviation memorabilia and aviation art, plus military autographs, diaries, photographs, ephemera, books and militaria. Meanwhile the top star among the 40 lots of orders, decorations and medals, promises to be the Field Officer’s Gold Medal posthumously awarded to Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Donellan Killed in Action at Talavera on 28 July 1809, whilst commanding the 1st Bn, 48th (Northamptonshire) Regiment of Foot.
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An extensive single-owner collection of 19th- and 20th-century travel and exploration forms the centrepiece of our next book sale on Wednesday 20 January 2021. In superb condition throughout, the library presents a rare opportunity to acquire titles rarely seen in commerce, or seldom encountered in collectable condition. Highlights include an excellent set of James Morier’s A Journey through Persia (1812) and his Second Journey (1818) with distinguished provenance to the library at West Dean House, Chichester (estimate £1,000-£1,500), George Byron’s sought-after Hawaiian travel narrative Voyage H.M.S. to the Sandwich Islands (1826, estimate £400-£600), and a fine copy of Sir Jagatjit Singh’s My Travels in China, Japan and Java (1905, £200-£300), a genuine commercial rarity.
The library is supplemented by various desirable titles from other collections, notably a rare second edition of James Horsburgh’s India Directory (1817-18, £500-£800) which contains an appendix on ‘Discoveries in the Gulf of Persia’, one of the earliest documents available in English on the area which forms the modern United Arab Emirates.
The array of other stand-out items to be offered includes a third edition of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1861) in a spectacular example of the original cloth binding (£2,000-£3,000), a signed copy of Sigmund Freud’s Psychoanalytische Studien (1924, £1,000-£1,500), and Francis Hutchinson’s An Historical Essay concerning Witchcraft (1718), and a variety of maps from the important first edition of Gastaldi’s map of Poland (1562, £3,000-£5,000) to Atkinson’s Plan of Her Majesty’s Forest of Dean (1842, £500-£800).
For further information please contact one of our specialist staff.