David Bailey’s ‘Box of Pin-Ups’ at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions

. May 23, 2014

As David Bailey’s Startdust exhibition enters its final weeks at the National Portrait Gallery, Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions offer Bailey lovers the opportunity to take home his iconic 1965 ‘Box of Pin-Ups’, featuring one of Bailey’s most celebrated images of Mick Jagger with a fur collar.

David Bailey's 'Box of Pin-Ups'

David Bailey’s ‘Box of Pin-Ups’

‘Box of Pin-Ups’ is a portfolio of 36 portraits that epitomises the fashion, art and music scenes of the 60s, with faces such as John Lennon, David Hockney, Terrence Stamp, Jean Shrimpton and Michael Caine.

The cover notes written by Francis Wyndham state “Surprisingly few are female – Bailey’s standards here are so rigorous that only four girls qualify”

“But in the age of Mick Jagger it is the boys who are the pin-ups”

The portraits were mostly taken of Bailey’s friends and fellow members of the Ad Lib club in London, “The Sixties were a great time….everyone we knew became famous. And I’m still working because I still have the passion.”

David Bailey; “I didn’t ever look at Michael and think, “He is an icon, I’m going to take an iconic picture.” It’s the self-confidence that comes from him.”

Michael Caine; “David and I are like Dorian Gray, growing old in the attic”

Although arguably one of his most recognisable works Bailey admits “As usual I lost money on the project…we couldn’t give it away. Now they sell for £20,000” It is even rumoured that he burned some of the works.

Included among the famous faces in Baileys ‘Box of Pin-Ups’, is a controversial photograph of notorious gangsters The Kray Brothers; “They were all right. Just East End blokes really, I knew them really well…People ask ‘How could you like Reg? but I did like him. He didn’t do anything to me. Didn’t like Ron so much – I avoided him…I saw him beat a bloke almost to death for not offering round the corned beef sandwiches.” The set is estimated at £3,000-5,000 [Lot 159]

Amongst other celebrity portraiture in the sale, supermodel Helena Christensen is portrayed not only in a photograph by Patrick Demarchelier, estimated at £7,000-9,000 [Lot 182] but also behind the camera, as a photographer herself. Her self-portrait, taken in the water and titled Helena is appearing for the first time at auction [Lot 183] alongside portraits of her friends Bono [Lot 180] and REM lead singer, Michael Stripe [Lot 181].

In an interview with Elle magazine Christensen said, “ I love every aspect of photography, specifically the fact that you freeze moments of life that appear beautiful, interesting, eerie, or life-changing, whether big or small.”

The auction also contains a group of stereocards of The Great Eastern (named the Leviathan before its launch), including the famous portrait of English civil engineer Isambard Kingdon Brunel, by Robert Howlett and George Downes, showing the engineer sitting in front of the giant launching chains in the Millwall shipyard [Lot 20],another of a View from the Stern [Lot 21] and a third of The Great Eastern funnel with Portraits of Officers. [Lot 22]

Isambard Kingdom Brunel, (1806-1859) was a leader of the Industrial Revolution who built dockyards, the Great Western Railway, steamships bridges and tunnels. In 2002 he was named second on the BBC’s 100 Greatest Britons.

The sale will be held on Friday 6th June at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions’ saleroom in London’s Mayfair. All works will be on public view from Sunday 1st
June until the day of the sale with a late viewing until 8pm on Thursday 5th June. The illustrated catalogue is available to download or view online at www.bloomsburyauctions.com

Category: Auction News

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