Bloomsbury to Auction Unique Titanic and Tsarist Photographs and Rare Images by Irving Penn, Willy Ronis and Bob Willoughby

. November 6, 2009

One expects interesting, off beat, quality images from Bloomsbury Auctions well viewed and well attended Photographs sales and the auction on 10th November is no exception.

Irving PennIrving Penn and Willy Ronis have recently died, and Bloomsbury is delighted to offer some of their major works. The exquisite Lily Meldridge (lot 222) on the front cover of the catalogue is by Irving Penn and a particularly attractive dimension for collectors, is that his works have been frozen following his death and lot 222 has never been at auction before; it is an edition of five signed, dated, titled, numbered and annotated editions stamped with Vogue details (estimate £15000-20000). Sadly Willy Ronis whose five watchwords for the perfect photograph were ‘patience, réflexion, hasard, forme, temps’, died in September this year. Ten lots of his striking images (lots 106-115) are for sale and Quarter Villevielle, Isle-sur-la-Sorgue printed in 1979, stamped ‘8, rue Ledru-Rollin ’ titled and annotated in ink and pencil, has never been sold at auction and is expected to fetch £1800-2000 (lot 107).

Bloomsbury’s Photographs sale also boasts images from two of the early 20th century’s most captivating landmark events, the sinking of the Titanic and the brutal murder of the Russian Tsar and his family. Lot 41 will undoubtedly arouse interest, it is an anonymous photograph of Duchesses Olga & Anastasia, circa 1914 (estimate £800-1200). Its similarity to images by Pierre Gilliard, who was not only devoted to the Russian Imperial family but also tutor to the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Anastasia and Olga Nikolaievna, suggests that this hitherto unknown photograph may have been taken by him. The lot also includes the original letter from General Dietrichs/Deytrikh to Hugh C. M. Pitts to whom the picture was sent; written on headed paper it reads: It is a very great pleasure to me, to be able to send you the last snapshot of the Eldest Olga & the youngest Anastasia, Grand Duchesses, shortly before the greatest tragedy of our time… Dieterichs, one of Admiral Kolchak’s principal aides, was in possession of the personal effects of the Tsar’s family. The photograph had been posted care of Princess Marina at Kensington Palace. Also included in this lot is the book Tutor to the Tsarevich, An intimate portrait of the last days of the Russian Imperial Family compiled from the papers of Charles Sydney Gibbes by J.C. Trewin. Lot 42 are images of the ill-fated Titanic consisting of five glass positive slides by Underwood & Underwood including views of the ship’s interior (estimate £600-800).

Little is known about the evocative and anonymous 26 albumen prints of Dundee, 1901 (lot 40). Taken and Finished While You Wait, Children on a Merry-Go-Round and Female Street Seller were all taken in Dundee in the Greenmarket. Man with Paper Sitting Beneath Lamp-Post and Bare-Footed Boy were taken outside the Albert Institute in Dundee, while the incongruous Parade of Elephants could simply be the unusual event witnessed in Edinburgh in 1901 although the architecture could as easily be Dundee. The photographs may be attributable to Alexander Wilson, an amateur photographer who worked from about 1870 to 1905 whose glass plate negatives were bequeathed to Dundee Central Library in 1923 (estimate £1200 – £15000).

In complete contrast are the joyous, signed photographs by Bob Willoughby of a jazz concert (lot 159 estimated £4000-6000) or of iconic film stars such as Audrey Hepburn (lot 169 and 170), Anne Bancroft & Dustin Hoffman (lot 177) or James Dean on the set of Rebel Without a Cause (lot 178); estimates range from £500-6000.

www.bloomsburyauctions.com

Image: Irving Penn (1917- Oct 7 2009) Lily Melridge, New York, 1971

Category: Auction News

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