British photographic history

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Beken Marine archive on sale for £5 million

The Isle of Wight County Press reports that one of the best known names in marine photography, Beken of Cowes, is for sale at £5 million. The Beken collection has more than one million images, taken by three generations of Beken, who have recorded all the major events on The Solent and also travelled the world to renowned regattas, including the America’s Cup and the Olympics.

After more than 40 years afloat with his camera, Ken Beken is retiring and has put 200 years of maritime history for sale. The assets of the business are the black and white archive, which goes back to 1888, and is on sale for £3.5 million, and the colour archive, which is up for £1.5 million.

The collection ranges from the era of glass plates to today’s digital images and has been described as a "national treasure". The business started in 1888, when chemist and photographer, Alfred Edward Beken, moved from Canterbury, Kent, to the Island and opened a pharmacy in Cowes.

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