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A chance find in a Brighton antiques shop in April 2012 may bring its owner in excess of £500,000 as Martin Philips has decided to part with his cardboard boxes of old photographs. Museums and private collectors have expressed an interest with his collection of Choate’s work and all three hundred original prints, plus some surviving glass negatives when they are sold at auction later this month.
Described as one of the most significant photographic discoveries in recent decades, over half of the 500 photographs were perfectly-preserved 19th century albumen prints of feet of famous people including the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson, former Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, naturalist Charles Darwin and fellow photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. All the prints bear the signature ‘Erasmus Choate, Brighton’ - one of the founders of the Photographic Society in 1853. He is known to have exhibited in the London Salons of the 1850s and ‘60s, though it was thought that none of his work had survived.
Phillips says that some of Choate’s descendants had tried to claim ownership of the prints, but after a brief courtroom battle he has been confirmed as the legal owner. You can read the entire news article here.
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