British photographic history

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Auction: Early Shadbolt ballooning photographs lead sale

Dominic Winter's autumn Photography auction comprises 147 lots from 1850s onwards. Highlight of the sale is anticipated to be a series of 76 ballooning magic lantern slides that include 27 aerial photographic views of London (and one of the Eiffel Tower) by balloonist-aerial photographer pioneer Cecil Victor Shadbolt (1859-1892).

Among the aerial photographs is the earliest known surviving aerial photograph of Great Britain, a photograph of Stamford Hill taken by Shadbolt on 29 May 1882 (shown here). All the other photographs date from between then and Shadbolt's untimely death in a ballooning accident in 1892. A handful are captioned and signed by Shadbolt and the whole collection was clearly used as part of a magic lantern lecture series that Shadbolt used to give called Balloons and Ballooning. That colour slide with the unfortunate motto 'Upward and Onwards' is numbered 1 and clearly the start of the lecture. One of the other uncaptioned photographs shows the building of Crystal Palace and is surprisingly the oldest known surviving photograph of the building. Most of the photographs show amazing clarity but this photograph is a little more blurry due no doubt to the greater camera shake from flying in a tethered rather than free floating balloon. Other views include Blackheath, Catford Bridge, Sutton, Beckenham Junction, Thornton Heath and Dartford.

There is also an 1884 photograph of Shadbolt and 'Captain' Dale in the grounded balloon car with Shadbolt's camera clearly visible and attached to the basket (see my profile icon). The collection is estimated at £7,000-10,000 but for those interested I have created a Flickr slideshow with copyright watermarks to stop these escaping into the public domain too easily. Any comments or suggestions about some of the uncaptioned locations in the slideshow will be gratefully received: 

SLIDESHOW

Other highlights include a private collection of large and early platinum prints of India by little-known Victor Pont, portraits of Tennyson by Julia Margaret Cameron, O.G. Rejlander and James Mudd, an interesting album of rural China by an unidentified Western photographer/geologist 1875, three unidentified salt prints, good prints of Rome by Macpherson, a good series of vintage British Airways photographs by Norman Parkinson and an archive of studio photographs of British royalty and Society by Marcus Adams and his son Gilbert, from the family.

Photographers represented in the auction include Marcus Adams, Lai Afong, Albert Arthur Allen, Thomas Anna, Edouard-Denis Baldus, Cecil Beaton, Bisson Freres, Julia Margaret Cameron, Charles Clifford, two portraits of Charles Darwin, Philip Henry Delamotte, Olive Edis, Peter Henry Emerson, George Fiske, Francis Frith, Hill & Adamson, Lee Lockwood, Robert Macpherson, James Mudd, Eadweard Muybridge, Victor Pont, NASA, Kazumasa Ogawa, Norman Parkinson, William Lake Price, Victor Prout, Oscar Gustave Rejlander, Cecil V. Shadbolt, Kozabura Tamamura, John Whistler.

Dominic Winter Auctioneers

Photography 1850-2000

Thursday 15 October  : approx. 4pm start

Online catalogue: http://www.dominicwinter.co.uk

Viewing times:

Tuesday 13 October 9am - 7pm

Wednesday 14 October 9am - 6pm

Thursday 15 October from 9am

Earlier times by appointment only

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