Some of the oldest known photos of England could be worth almost $100G at auction

A photo album containing some of the oldest-known pictures of southern England could be worth a small fortune when it is sold at auction later this month.

The album contains a number of different images that date back to 1848, including scenic buildings, portraits of workers and nature, British news agency SWNS reports. The collection has been described as “historically important” and “breathtaking” by experts.

“The album has a narrative similar to any great artist’s sketchbook, full of experimentation, development and adjustments,” Austin Farahar, Head of Photographica at Chiswick Auctions, told the news outlet.

An album of the oldest ever photos of southern England, dating back to 1850, could fetch up to £70,000 at auction. (Credit: SWNS)

An album of the oldest ever photos of southern England, dating back to 1850, could fetch up to £70,000 at auction. (Credit: SWNS)

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The photographer responsible for the pictures was  Captain Thomas Honywood, whom Chiswick Auctions described as a “polymath,” fascinated with art, science, archaeology and photography.

“Honywood’s passion for photography and experimentation with various photochemical processes led him to patent a new photographic technique of ‘Nature Printing,'” the auction house said in a statement. “This process enabled the transfer of positive images from nature onto a variety of surfaces, the success of which led Honywood to exhibit his work at the London International Inventions Exhibition of 1885 to much admiration.”

Images of nature, scenic buildings, and portraits of workers were all captured by a technique developed by the photographer in a "historically important" and "breath-taking" collection. (Credit: SWNS)

Images of nature, scenic buildings, and portraits of workers were all captured by a technique developed by the photographer in a “historically important” and “breath-taking” collection. (Credit: SWNS)

Farahar added that the album contained pictures of people and places that Honywood “knew and loved dearly” and captured “a record of the world that Honywood inhabited.”

“Before these photographs were discovered, every record or account of this part of England had been translated via the eyes and hands of an artist, perhaps with the assistance of the camera-lucida, but still from the subjective view of a draftsman,” Farahar explained. “What we have here is a beautiful and extraordinary intersection of art and science.”

Images of nature, scenic buildings, and portraits of workers were all captured by a technique developed by the photographer in a "historically important" and "breath-taking" collection. (Credit: SWNS)

Images of nature, scenic buildings, and portraits of workers were all captured by a technique developed by the photographer in a “historically important” and “breath-taking” collection. (Credit: SWNS)

It’s unclear where the photographs were taken or who some of the subjects are although some may be related to specific events. In one photo, for example, one of the young girls is holding a Christmas wreath.

“This collection is of huge historical importance to the art of photography and the nation as a whole,” Farahar continued. “The exceptional images are the earliest photographs we have of the southern region of England that are known to exist. The portraits of farmworkers, soldiers, firemen, and stunning landscape studies taken across Sussex are an incredibly rare slice of social history that should be preserved for current and future generations.”

One of the earliest is a scene of people standing next to a cottage by a pond which captures their reflection, from 1850. And the following year there is a group of men and boys in a study just captioned 'Horsham Woodcutters'. (Credit: SWNS)

One of the earliest is a scene of people standing next to a cottage by a pond which captures their reflection, from 1850. And the following year there is a group of men and boys in a study just captioned ‘Horsham Woodcutters’. (Credit: SWNS)

The auction is slated to take place on Oct. 28 and has a pre-sale estimate of 50,000 to 70,000 British pounds ($65,000-,$90,000).

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