British photographic history

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Auction: 'grey paper album' Fenton on sale / 3 December 2020

A print from an album likely to have been compiled by Roger Fenton is being offered by Chiswick Auctions online on 3 December. The anonymous portrait, by Fenton, comes from the notorious 'grey paper album'. The important album was disbound and each image was offered, and dispersed, individually, at auction between 1977 and 1984.

No record of the album and its sequencing was made at the time and it remains an example of commerce determining to break up an album to maximise value for the consignor.  Pages from the album are now scattered across the world, including at the Metropolitan Museum in New York and prints periodically appear at auction. 

The Chiswick auction also contains other early photographs, stereocards and cameras. 

The Fenton lot description can be seen here.

The sale whole auction here

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Comment by Bobbie Carnegie on November 27, 2020 at 14:58

I have commented previously about news of 'whole collections' being broken up for individual sales out of someone's lifetime putting together of their collection or archive. To me this wanton insensitive, ignorant commercial behaviour has asset stripping, nigh-on, criminal characteristics invoiced into it. But, then buyers, like I have been of the individual photo, negative glass plate or postcard seen to be disbanded out of an old Victorian or Edwardian album thinking I am 'rescuing' the item will encourage commercial bandits to gather in even more archives to strip out the single treasures to sell apiece where the whole would accrue less at auction.     

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