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Auction: 19th & 20th Century Photography / Dominic Winter Auctioneers / 16 December 2020

Due to new lockdown restrictions Dominic Winter’s photography auction set for 18th November is rescheduled for Wednesday 16th December with a revised viewing period from Monday 7th December (strictly by pre-booked appointment and subject to any revised COVID-19 restrictions). Meanwhile the catalogue is viewable online in various formats at the auctioneer’s website.

In a bumper sale of over 400 lots it is hard to pick one single special theme but the predominance of China and Japan material is irresistible. When a privately owned collection of 90 photographs of China, Formosa and Japan in the 1860s recently came to light there was understandable excitement. The distinctive hand of John Thomson was familiar and easily recognised and the knee-jerk reaction was that most of the other photographs would be found to be by Felice Beato. However, on closer study something much more intriguing transpired and as the name of Beato faded away so the somewhat surprising name of the lesser-known American photographer Charles Leander Weed took centre stage.

Charles Weed (1824-1903) is most famous for his pioneering mammoth-plate photographs of Yosemite but knowledge of his work from his two periods based in China (1860-61 & 1866-70) is far hazier. Weed photographed in Japan in 1867 during his second period out East and took photographs with both his mammoth-plate and stereoview cameras. Many of the photographs were published in an Oriental Scenery series in both formats by Thomas Houseworth of San Francisco in 1869. However, not only was Weed uncredited but neither series appears to have been successful and, as a result, only handfuls of these Weed photographs are known institutionally and privately today. The collection is offered in 50 lots and represents half of the photography lots with a Far Eastern theme.

A further 70 lots of travel photography features India, Nepal, Cuba, West Indies, South America, etc., a good album with large-format views of Europe by Bisson Freres, Edouard Baldus, Robert Macpherson, et al. (1850s to early 1860s), albums of Greece, Turkey and one of USA in the 1880s (with 135 albumen prints by Carleton Watkins, Isaiah Taber, William H. Jackson et al.), plus an album of remote St Kilda in the 1880s with interesting provenance.

The 19th-century theme continues with photographs by Roger Fenton, Julia Margaret Cameron, Oscar Rejlander, Robert Macpherson, two rare salt prints by Peter Hinckes Bird, and a fine large-format print of Gustave Le Gray’s Brick au Claire de Lune, 1856, which graces the front cover of the catalogue.

Military photography is especially well represented with nearly 100 lots, of which nearly a half are daguerreotypes and ambrotypes of British officers, from the collection of Jack Webb. Star of the section is a three-quarter-plate daguerreotype group portrait taken outdoors at Dum Dum Artillery Station, Calcutta, February 1847.

The 20th century material includes a never-before-seen collection of negatives of the Beatles taken by Lord Christopher Thynne in April 1964 during the filming of the Beatles’ first feature film A Hard Day's Night. Just back from their first American tour, the film was a rushed project to capture the Beatlemania fad before their 'five-minute' fame passed! Largely taken at Marylebone Station and in the Garrison Room and gardens at Les Ambassadeurs, London, the photographs also feature shots with co-star Wilfrid 'Steptoe' Brambell, schoolgirl Pattie Boyd (to become the wife of George Harrison) and inspired director Richard Lester. The collection is split into 11 lots with varied estimates, and the medium format and 35mm negatives come with full copyright.

Fashion makes an appearance with a monumental 3-volume work, Les Actualités de L’Elégance, c.1914-25, while other 20th-century work includes signed photographs by Alberto Korda, Yousuf Karsh, Martin Parr, a special signed print of Christine Keeler by Lewis Morley, and a group of 4 photographs from the Cottingley Fairies series.

The sale is rounded out with lots of cartes de visite, stereoviews, glass negatives and lantern slides, assorted albums and folders, individual prints, cameras and accessories.

Digital catalogues in various formats are now available here. Printed catalogues can be had from the auction offices (£15 post inclusive). Public viewing daily from Monday 7th December, strictly by pre-booked appointment and subject to up-to-date government COVID-19 guidelines.

For further information and enquiries please contact Chris Albury / 01285 860006

Dominic Winter Auctioneers, Mallard House, Broadway Lane, South Cerney, Cirencester, Gloucestershire GL7 5UQ

Image: lot 147. Three-quarter-plate daguerreotype of a military and family group outdoors, Calcutta, February 1847.

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