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Swann Galleries to sell poignant reminder of the golden age of Thomas Cook
Hong Kong street scene, 1924, from the photograph album entitled My Trip Around the World: S.S. Samaria, by Branson De Cou (1892-1941). Image courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries.

NEW YORK, NY.- A 1924 photograph album for sale at Swann Auction Galleries on October 17 recalls the golden age of travel with Thomas Cook & Son, with images by a leading travel lecturer and photographer of the day.

Offered poignantly just weeks after the tour operator collapsed after 178 years in business, the album, entitled My Trip Around the World: S.S. Samaria, is the work of Branson De Cou (1892-1941), whose widow donated a huge archive of his work to the University of California in 1971 at the suggestion of the legendary photographer Ansel Adams.

De Cou took off on his first world tour at the age of 20, beginning a life devoted to recording his experiences on film and in writing to impart to audiences across the USA until his death at the age of 49.

The album included in Swann Auction Galleries’ Classic & Contemporary Photographs sale dates to almost the midpoint of his career and includes over 260 photographs, with 70 images depicting scenery and local life in China and Hong Kong.

Beginning in New York, the tour travelled to Madeira then across Northern Africa to Egypt, and subsequently to Ceylon, journeying up through Asia, visiting India, Java, Manila, China, Korea, and Japan. Following this, the group sailed East to Hawaii, down through the Panama Canal Zone to Cuba, and finally landed back on the East Coast of the United States.

The majority of pictures in the album centre on everyday life throughout Asia. The accomplished photographer keenly captured the spirit of each location through sharply-rendered portraits and candid depictions of the local inhabitants partaking in routine activities. There are exceptional images documenting the natural beauty of these foreign lands, and architectural locations of historical import.

The estimate is $1,200 to $1,800.

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