Image Lot Price Description



Throughout most of her life Dr. Wall-Apelt sought to learn more about Asian culture. At first she was drawn to the objects then became enthralled with the culture, beliefs & practices. Being a medical doctor she also took great interest in their approach to medicine. This too she became enthralled with to the point that she eventually went to China to experience and to learn the art of acupuncture, herbal treatments and other ancient healing techniques. One way of expanding her knowledge, understanding & appreciation of the Asian culture was, of course, antique photography. As she began to collect images she, like everyone else, discovered that 19th Century photography of Asian origin are scarce and hard to come by, but Chinese images were very scarce. In the 19th Century photography was not embraced in the Asian region as it was in the Western culture and most of the views acquired were obtained by western photographers visiting these regions. The images document everyday life, temples & palaces, flora & fauna, artisans, curiosities and much more. It is a remarkable insight to a culture and region that was little understood by much of western society in the 19th Century. These rare photographs and the pioneers who captured them were an important aspect of exposing and familiarizing westerners to these ancient cultures. Dr. Wall-Apelt’s massive collection of Asian photography must certainly rank as one of the larger & better ones of its type currently in private hands. To attempt to replicate this magnificent collection one would spend years, much travel and a tremendous amount of money and even then might not be able to match its quality and breadth. This is truly a rare opportunity and we personally do not know of a similar offering to have come to market in the past. We believe it to be a once in a lifetime opportunity. The collection numbers approximately 800 pieces, most of which are albumin photography circa 1880 most mounted on original boards, though many are unmounted. There are earlier photographs including two large salted paper photographs by Linnaeus Tripe (1857-1859) of Madras, India (these particular images were de-accessioned from the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco. There are some gelatin photographs circa 1900. Most images in this grouping are loose though there are six bound albums. The largest of these albums contains just over 100 photographs, mostly 27 x 21cm (10-1/2″ x 8-1/2″). The first section has 44 images by Charles Scowen and William L. H. Skeen showing views of Ceylon, mostly unusual fauna and local peoples and several hand-colored. This same album has 24 views of China, including street scenes in Canton, country buildings, boats and local people. Several of these are also hand-colored. This album concludes with 49 photographs of Paris, showing scenes of noted landmarks and photos of famous art; sculpture and paintings from the Louvre. Two large bound albums contain photographs of Ceylon, one with 24 images, another with 47 photos comprising topography, portraits and temple views; several are by Joseph Lawton (active 1864-1874). An album of India and Ceylon photography in a faux crocodile binding contains 75 images, about a third 27 x 21cm (10-1/2″ x 8-1/2″) and another third 12.5 x 16.5cm (4-3/4″ x 6-1/2″). Many of these photographs are by William L. H. Skeen. Another album contains 54 photos of Hong Kong and Canton, most are 24 x 19cm (9-1/2″ x 7-1/2″) and depict Colonial homes, plantation scenes, unusual fauna, workers picking various crops and in other activities. The last bound album in this grouping shows images of mostly Northern India and Kasmir by Charles Shepherd and Samuel Bourne. Shepherd and Bourne were well known photographers who photographed Kasmir in the 1860s. Many images in this album show quite dramatic topography and indigenous people rarely photographed. There were several books written concerning Bourne’s photographs on his trek through the Himalayas. Some artists not already mentioned in this grouping include: Felix Bonfils (Egypt 1867-1880), H.A. Mirza (India and Saudi Arabia), Felice Beato (Mandalay, circa 1900), Philip A. Klier (Burma, 1880-1900), Gabriel Lekegian (Egypt and Ottoman Empire 1880, exhibited at the 1893 Colombian Exposition), William Saunders (Shanghai, circa 1870), Walter Woodbury and James Page worked in Java, Dutch East Indies 1860s-1870s. Of the approximate 800 photographs of this grouping, about 150 are from India, over 200 from Ceylon, over 150 from China, Hong Kong and Singapore, over 50 images from Burma, over 50 from Japan. Most of the views of Japan are 26 x 20cm (10-1/4″ x 7-3/4″) and most are delicately hand-colored. There are 50 photographs of Paris and the remainder are from the Pacific Rim and the Middle East. As can be seen from photographs, images concentrate on views of local people in their native dress, architecture, both colonial and indigenous, harbor scenes, temples, shrines, archeological ruins, rare and interesting fauna, diverse topography, including amazing views of the mountains of Kashmir…Also included in this lot is a third edition (1922) folio The Pageant of Peking, comprising sixty-six Vandyck Photogravures of Peking and Environs from photographs by Donald Mennie. Photos in this archive range in size, with the majority 350 images averaging about 27 x 21cm (10-1/2″ x 8-1/2″) (most common size). A spreadsheet is available with sizes of each image and partial subject content. SIZE: This group ranges from 26 x 18cm (10-1/4″ x 7-1/4″) to 29.5 x 22.5cm (11-3/4″ x 8-3/4″). There are about 30 photographs with one dimension larger than 30cm, with the largest image about 47 x 27cm. There are about 200 smaller than average photos making up the second largest grouping with a dimension above 27cm (10-1/2″). The remaining 200 photographs have smaller dimensions ranging from about 9 x 6cm (3-1/2″ x 2-1/2″) to 16 x 10cm (6-1/2″ x 4″). PROVENANCE: The personal collection of Dr. Helga Wall-Apelt. CONDITION: Photographs as a whole are very good to fine, though there are a few with glued corners on modern mounts, a few chipped corners and other defects to a small portion, such as creases, soiling, scratching and foxing. Interested parties should view these images where the vast majority are very good to fine. “Pageant of Peking” in deluxe binding with gold spine and edges with cut-through cloth cover showing title and text. Binding is scuffed with edge wear. Text and tipped-in plates complete and fine overall with minor soiling and foxing. In general the collection is in wonderful condition. 47671-222 (200,000-400,000) – Lot 3097

Auction: Fine Art, Asian & Antiques - Winter 2016
Please Note: All prices include the hammer price plus the buyer’s premium, which is paid by the buyer as part of the purchase price. The prices noted here after the auction are considered unofficial and do not become official until after the 46th day.