London, South Kensington
11 December 2002
VN press camera
Van Neck, London; quarter-plate, black-leather covered body, bright chromed and metal fittings, removable focusing screen black leather bellows, focal-plane cloth shutter and a Ross, London Xpres 6 inch f/4.5 lens no. 156411; six single metal slides, all in a fitted leather case
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British Journal Photographic Almanac 1933, p. 280.
British Journal Photographic Almanac 1934, pp. 268-269.
Jim Barron, 'The British press camera' in British Journal of
Photography, 13 February 1992, pp. 28-29; 20 February 1992, pp. 20-21.
During the interwar period the collapsible strut cameras from Zeiss (the Palmos), Goerz (the Anschütz), A.P.M. (the Apem) and Van Neck amongst many others, generally called press cameras, were extensively used throughout Fleet Street. Peeling and Van Neck occupied an influential position acting as the English agents for Goerz and when war stopped supplies they launched their own British Anschütz camera in 1919 until 1924 when the Goerz became available again.
In 1933 Peeling and Van Neck launched their VN press camera which the BJPA described as 'substantial' in its construction. The shutter was non self-capping but with built-in flash contacts. It was improved the following year with the quick-back for inserting and removing darkslides. The camera without lens was sold for £30 and the firm had the exclusive right to synchronised Sashalite flash bulbs with the shutter of cameras made by them.
The camera continued to be made in to the 1950s with a Ross lens as standard and updated flash gun with a capacitor circuit.
The rise of the Speed Graphic-pattern camera for press work during the second world war led to a range of similarly designed cameras from Van Neck and M.P.P. and other designs of camera for press work from Wray and Dawes Instruments.
Daphne Lingon, Head of Jewellery at Christie’s in New York, on the 'dramatic' ring with which David Rockefeller proposed to Peggy in 1940
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