Julia Margaret Cameron - The Odyssey of Collecting: Photographs from Joy of Giving Something Foundation New York Tuesday, October 3, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    The first:
    Christie's, South Kensington, 10 March 1977, lot 227
    Collection of Paul F. Walter, New York
    Sotheby's, London, Fine Photographs from the Collection of Paul F. Walter, 10 May 2001, lot 119

    The second:
    Collection of Erich Sommer, London
    Christie’s, South Kensington, 8 May 1998, lot 42

  • Exhibited

    The first: National Portrait Gallery, London, Julia Margaret Cameron: 19th Century Photographer of Genius, 6 February- 26 May 2003, traveling to the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television, Bradford, and J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

  • Literature

    Cox & Ford, Julia Margaret Cameron: The Complete Photographs, nos. 1114, 1123 (this print)

  • Catalogue Essay

    The two photographs in this lot show Dejátch Álámáyou (1861-1879), an Abyssinian prince who was raised in Britain as a ward of the government. In April 1868, British troops fought against Álámáyou’s father, King Tewodros (Theodore). Tewodros killed himself after his army was defeated, and his orphaned son was placed in the care of the swashbuckling British officer Captain Tristram Charles Speedy, who is pictured in the smaller of the photographs offered here. Speedy had served in Abyssinia (now Ethiopia), had known King Tewodros, spoke Amharic fluently, and was in many ways an ideal guardian for the seven-year-old boy. In England, the pair were presented to Queen Victoria, who was captivated by the boy, his story, and his charismatic escort. Álámáyou thenceforth was frequently the subject of the Queen’s benevolence and was her guest at Balmoral on several occasions. Immediately recognizable, Álámáyou became a public figure, an exotic and fascinating visitor from a far-off land.

    Cameron’s photographs of Álámáyou and Speedy were made in July 1868, shortly after their arrival in England. Ten images survive from this sitting (Cox 1114-23), and they show Cameron making full use of an array of African clothing, shields, and weaponry (all likely from Speedy’s own collection, which now resides in the British Museum). The images of Álámáyou and Speedy together are poignant for showing the bond that existed between the two. The single portrait of Álámáyou offered here is the only large-format print of the image located by Cameron authority Julian Cox.


Déjatch Álámáyou, King Theodore's Son and Déjatch Álámáyou & Báshá Félika, King Theodore's Son & Captain Speedy

Two photographs, comprising a standard-format albumen print and a carte-de-visite albumen print.
12 1/4 x 10 1/4 in. (31.1 x 26 cm)
3 1/8 x 2 1/4 in. (7.9 x 5.7 cm)

The first signed, dated and inscribed in ink and with facsimile title and 'Colnaghi' blindstamp on the mount; the second annotated in an unidentified hand in pencil on the reverse of the mount.

$30,000 - 50,000 

Sold for $30,000

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The Odyssey of Collecting: Photographs from Joy of Giving Something Foundation

New York 3 October 2017