British photographic history

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Auction: Daguerre images and artefacts (updated)

Bearnes, Hampton & Littlewood's Fine Art Sale in Exeter on 5 October features an unusual group of rare, early items relating to Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre, inventor of the Diorama, a theatrical  spectacle, and the daguerreotype, the earliest form of photography, made public in 1839.

Amongst the rarities is a copy of ‘Les Machabées’, (Lot 701) Estimate £400 - £600) a play for which, early in his career, Daguerre designed the sets in 1817. His name appears on the title page. Further lots include early published reports of both diorama and daguerreotype, with the daguerreotype itself represented by two of the earliest examples of photographic portraits, one French, by Victor Chevalier, and one English, from Richard Beard’s studio, undated but around 1841/2.  The two final items of the twenty-five strong contingent are portraits of Daguerre himself. One of them is a late (1880s) copy of an 1848 daguerreotype of the inventor, by Charles R. Meade Lot 724) estimate £1000 - £1500.

The other, a unique piece, is a Societé Française de Photographie silver medal dated 1902 (Lot 725) estimate £800 - £1200, featuring double profile portraits of Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre, and of Joseph Nicephore Niépce, his collaborator in the earliest steps in the development of the medium.

Update: the catalogue can be seen here:

For further details visit or telephone Rachel Littlewood on 01392 413100. 


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Comment by Alex Novak on September 28, 2016 at 15:52

The pricing on some of these items seems pretty high to me, even with the pound being so low.  I sold a similar (but in better condition) Chevalier dag with the same label and information for $2,100 (admittedly 14 years ago), not 3,000 pounds, plus premium.  Seems like Bearnes thinks every photo item should be priced like their Cravens sale results. Some paper priced ok, but not in the best condition.  No Daguerre letters or really important items.  I was a bit disappointed.

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