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Pictures from the father of photography and pioneers of the art of photography to be auctioned
The Fruit Sellers, Lacock Abbey, circa 1845, by William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877), opens the sale and is expected to achieve between £10,000-15,000 [Lot 1].

LONDON.- Pictures by the pioneering photographers of the 19th and 20th century are to be auctioned on Thursday 5th March 2015. From early photographic prints by the Father of Photography, William Henry Fox Talbot, to the Surrealism of Man Ray, the auction of 19th and 20th Century Photographs from a Private Collection features famous and iconic vintage photographs. The sale will be on view at Bloomsbury Auctions’ saleroom in London’s Mayfair from Sunday 1st March until the day of the auction on Thursday 5th March.

The Fruit Sellers, Lacock Abbey, circa 1845, by William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877), opens the sale and is expected to achieve between £10,000-15,000 [Lot 1]. Fox Talbot invented and patented the ‘calotype’ process in 1841, making these images some of the earliest surviving examples of photography as we know it. Other photographs by Fox Talbot include Articles of Glassware’, 1844 [Lot 2] and The Ladder, 1845 [Lot 3].

Other early examples include an album documenting some of the first X-Ray experiments by French scientists Barthelemy Toussaint (1850-1906) and Paul Oudin (1851-1923). Wilhem Roentgen discovered what we now know as the X-Ray in 1895, and this album of experiments from a year later by Oudin and Toussaint captures the revolutionary X-Ray procedure in its infancy. Experiments include X-Ray of a shoe, a rat, hands and keys. The album is estimated at £1,800-2,200 [Lot 52].

Amongst other photographs from the Victorian era are works by the pioneering portrait photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. The dramatic photograph of Julia Jackson, the mother of Virginia Woolf, and also Cameron’s niece is a highlight of the Cameron group, and it is estimated at £10,000-15,000. This image, with its dark background and clothing, which contrast with the sitter’s pale face, is very typical of Cameron’s style of portraiture [Lot 6].

Another, very different portrait, comes from the artist Man Ray. Mannequin de Man Ray, 1938, hails from a group of photographs Man Ray produced to document the collaborative surrealism exhibition, Exposition Internationale du Surrealisme.

The focal point of the exhibition was an indoor street with 16 shop mannequins dressed by the participating artists. Man Ray developed two of his earlier artworks when he produced his mannequin. Woven into her hair are two of Man Ray’s glass bubble pipes, and reminiscent of his legendary tears photograph, 1930, are the glass tears that fall from her eyes. At the time Man Ray only printed a small number of these photographs for himself and friends, and this vintage photograph was for Marcel Jean [Lot 90].

The sale also includes selected vintage prints from Man Ray’s larger body of photographs documenting the Exposition Internationale du Surrealisme, including Mannequin d’Yves Tanguy, [Lot 87] and Mannequin de Joan Miro, [Lot 88] both of which hail from the private collection of Andre Breton.

Collectors of landscape photography will appreciate the haunting image by Herbert Ponting (1870-1935), Cavern in an Iceberg, circa 1911, estimated at £1,500-2,000. Ponting was the official photographer for Captain Scott’s ill-fated final expedition to the South Pole capturing some of the most enduring and dramatic images of the hostile landscape that would claim the lives of Scott’s crew.

In The Great White South (1921), Ponting recalls this cavern; “A fringe of long icicles hung at the entrance of the grotto and passing under these I was in the most wonderful place imaginable. From the outside, the interior appeared quite white and colourless, but, once inside, it was a lovely symphony of blue and green.” The photograph, showing the ship Terra Nova in the distance is estimated at £1,500-2,000 [Lot 47].

19th and 20th Century Photographs from a Private Collection will be held at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions’ Maddox Street saleroom in London’s Mayfair on Thursday 5th March 2015.

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February 24, 2015

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