British photographic history

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Auction: Photography: From West to East / Dominic Winter Auctioneers / Thursday 3 October

Photography in China is the dominant theme in Dominic Winter’s 320-lot photography sale on 3rd October.

Highlight among the 50 China lots is the notoriously rare Views on the North River (1870) by John Thomson (1837-1921), estimated at £15,000-20,000. But with only 4 copies in institutions and even fewer copies in private hands it may well exceed expectations. The copy, with 14 mounted albumen prints, is preserved in the original printed boards and carries the contemporary ownership signatures of George Dods MD (1836-1909), Acting Colonial Surgeon in Hong Kong, his son William Kane Dods, and another surgeon, Charles M. Normand. The book was recently unearthed by descendants of the Dods/Normand family along with a magnificent album of albumen print views of Hong Kong, c.1868-70, by Thomson (£10,000-15,000), and a similar album of views of Hong Kong and China by Thomson’s rival William Pryor Floyd (£7,000-10,000). A third Hong Kong album, including views by Lai Afong taken after the typhoon of 1874, (£1,000-1,500), and a group of Dods/Normand scrap albums with Chinese photographs, c.1860s-1880s, (£300-500), rounds off this small time capsule of a western family of collectors of photography in Hong Kong in the 1870s.

From other vendors there is a 4-volume first edition set of Thomson’s highly successful Illustrations of China and its People (1870), £20,000-30,000; and a rare 3-part albumen print panorama of Dalian Bay (1860) by Felice Beato, £5,000-7,000.

Other highlights of the sale include:

  • Benjamin Brecknell Turner, The Willowsay, 1852-4, £6,000-8,000
  • Roger Fenton, Photographic Art Treasures, Part I, 1856, £1,000-1,500
  • Julia Margaret Cameron, The Dream, 1869, £15,000-20,000
  • India. [Photographic biographies of Indian rulers], 2 parts in 1 volume, c.1880, £7,000-10,000
  • Herbert Boucher Dobbie, New Zealand Ferns, 2 parts, Auckland, 1880, £7,000-10,000
  • H.C. White & Co. A group of 188 half stereoviews of China, c.1900-10, £2,000-3,000
  • Wilhelm von Gloeden, 5 lots of photographs of Sicilian youths, c. 1900
  • Herbert Ponting, 7 lots of photographs from the Terra Nova Expedition, 1910-13
  • Cottingley Fairies, 6 lots of photographs featuring a full set of this famous hoax, c.1920
  • Martin Munkacsi, 28 lots of contacts prints, c.1960
  • Photobooks (30 lots) including Henri Cartier-Bresson’s first book Beautiful Jaipur (1948) and Helmut Newton’s Sumo (1999); Cameras and accessories (20 lots).

Finally, among the more intriguing early photography lots is a personal album with loosely inserted full-plate albumen print photogenic drawings of ferns by the very little-known William Henry Dupe (1824-1901), butler at Thenford, Northamptonshire. The album comprises a mixture of Dupe’s own photographs, seemingly dating back to Somerset in 1856, along with studio cartes de visite and some commercial photographs, and related news cuttings. Dupe photographed the local churches and area and being of humble origins was interested in photographing local people of all social strata, including the elderly. Seemingly Dupe left service at Thenford [now the home of Michael and Anne Heseltine] to become a full-time photographer, even winning prizes in Switzerland and New South Wales. If there is anyone with additional information about the mysterious Dupe we would be glad to hear and to share.

Printed catalogues available from the auction offices (£15 post inclusive). Public viewing daily from 1st October, 9am-6pm and morning of sale from 9am; other times strictly by appointment.

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

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

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