This season, Christie’s London Photographs department celebrates Britain in all its forms and guises: from British photographers and sitters to scenes of British life. On 15 October, Christie’s will offer works depicting famous British faces and places of the 20th century, with estimates ranging from £400 to £35,000. Offering collectors the opportunity to acquire affordable works with exceptional provenance, the sale will feature over 140 lots. The sale will explore the history of the medium; from vintage black and white to contemporary photography, via fashion and the natural world.


The sale celebrates British icons, with key highlights featuring from left to right: the vintage gelatin silver print by Philippe Halsman, Churchill, 1951, (estimate: £7,000-9,000); an artist’s proof by Barry Chris Smith, Ali Versus the Beatles, 1964, (number 4 from an edition of 50, estimate: £3,000-5,000); Twiggy, 1966, by Barry Lategan (number 19 from an edition of 35: estimate: £2,000-3,000) and David LaChapelle’s oversized chromogenic print featuring Daphne Guinness, 2009 entitled Exposures of Luxury (number 2 out of an edition of 3, estimate: £25,000-25,000);


Highlights of contemporary photography include London-based Mike and Doug Starn’s multimedia work, Structure of Thought,  an ultrachrome inkjet print on Thai, mulberry, Gampai and tissue papers with wax, caustic and varnish (number 4 from an edition of 5, illustrated left, estimate: 10,000-15,000). As shown with the present work, the Starn brothers often use images from nature to explore themes of connection and circulation. Their work has won them numerous awards and international shows and exhibitions.

Leading the works by emerging artists, Alexander James’ Grace, 2010, (AP 2/2, illustrated right, estimate: £12,000-18,000) re-visits the works of the 17th century Dutch Masters, using period props, food, and real insects including butterflies that James breeds himself. Each composition is carefully staged under water and is captured in-camera, without the use of post-production, either traditional or digital.

Susan Derges’ unique dye-bleach photogram entitled Shoreline, October 6, 1998 (estimate: £7,000-9,000) is a stunning and stellar example from the school of camera-less photography. Susan Derges is celebrated as one of the most interesting photographers working today and has been exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. 


The sale will also offer the opportunity to buy a stunning array of vintage prints that depict British life. These include a selection of 45 lots from the extensive collection constituted by the influential picture editor Norman Hall, renowned for playing a significant role in raising awareness in Britain of the power of the photographic medium. This selection includes the following works illustrated from left to right: 9 gelatin silver prints by Cecil Beaton entitled Theatrical Portraits, circa 1950 (estimate: £2,500-3,500); Brett Weston Photographing, circa 1960, a group of 4 gelatin silver prints by Norman Hall (estimate: £1,000-1,500); and the iconic composition by Phillip Jones Griffiths, Outside Pentonville Gaol After a Hanging, 1958 (estimate: £600-800). Further works by Bill Brandt, Brett Weston, Brassai, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Doisneau, Andre Kertesz, Elliott Erwitt and Hans Hammarskiöld, such as the work illustrated on page 1, will also be offered.

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