A Snapshot of the past: Photos from Chiswick Auction’s Bigger Picture sale

Chiswick Auctions’ sale The Bigger Picture: Fine Photographica & Panoramas features a selection of 19th and early 20th century photography including a single owner collection of panoramas. There is also an assortment of rare 20th century cameras as well as 19th century British mahogany and brass examples. Buyers can choose from these delights as well as a range of fresh-to-the-market 19th century travel photographs from across the globe.

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Two panoramas showing the Rolwaling Valley in the Himalayas as it was in 1960s are offered in this lot estimated at £80-120. They each depict the area around Mingbo Glacier Camp.

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Estimated at £200-300 is this Bourne & Shepherd (active c.1836-1903) photo of the Tomb of Hoshang Shah in Mandu from the 1860s.

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The top estimated camera in this sale is an ensign Multex Model O Rangefinder with 53mm f/1.9 Ross Xpres Lens. It is designed to make 14 3x4cm exposures on 127 film, and is offered here with the rare 53mm f/1.9 Ross Xpres lens, complete with maker's Eveready case. The estimate is £20,000-30,000.

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This panorama of Athens, c.1865-70, by Felix Bonfils comprises four albumen prints mounted on boards. As well as various Classical ruins, the photos show the 13th century Frankish bell tower on the Acropolis which was demolished in 1875 and was taken from a viewpoint just below the National Observatory. It’s estimate is £200-300.

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One of the auction’s featured lots is this moving panorama toy, c.1905, which is estimated at £2000-3000. It consists of wooden cabinet and a number of conjoined sheets measuring around 60ft mounted on rollers. The pictures themselves are in pen and ink watercolour. Made to look like a real theatre stage, it includes curtains, a ‘backstage’ area that houses the rollers and even an image of an orchestra playing. The images go from London to Calais, while its pair, now in the Bill Douglas Collection of Exeter University, goes from Calais to Paris.


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