On December 8th, Swann Galleries in New York will be auctioning Dodgson’s “Portrait of Emily Cecilia Harrison,” a 6.5 by 5 inch albumen print of Emily and her doll in a comfortable-looking chair. The sale is notable, first for its seriously fancy online “3D” catalogue, and secondly for a very exciting re-telling of Mr Dodgson’s biography:
Although best known for novels “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking-Glass,” he also invented croquet, billiards, various forms of chess, scrabble, ways to divide certain numbers and two different form of the Arabic zero.
The estimated sale price is $4,000 to $6,000. Perhaps it should be higher?
After a journey lasting several more than a hundred years and considerably more than a hundred miles, two photographs taken by Mr Dodgson have found their way from the developing room on the roof of Christ Church to a small ink shop and gallery on the West Coast of America. Those wishing to visit these far flung fragments of Dodgson’s life may find them in Berkeley, California between now and November 18, 2009.
The pictures form part of a small exhibition of portraits of children from the early egg whites and silver days of photography. From Dodgson, there is a “Study of Xie Kitchin” (albumen print, not for sale), an impossibly stern-looking girl, who was also chosen to face the exhibition advertisements. According to Dodgson’s diary, the picture was taken in his rooms on June 12, 1873. Xie Kitchin is accompanied by three images of “Bertram and Leonard Rogers Looking at Book in Front of a Chest” (silver print c.1890s, $300 and twin-mounted albumen prints, 1866, Inquire).
Alongside these well-traveled children, hang more hundred-plus year old youths from the work of Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward S. Curtis, Edweard Muybridge and others. The entire exhibition is borrowed from the collection of Wolffe Nadoolman, a Berkeley pediatrician.
Picturing Childhood: Portraits from the Masters of Early Photography (1850-1930), runs from October 10 through November 18, 2009 at Castle in the Air, 1805 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710. (The Castle in the Air website is here, but it’s slightly tricky to navigate.)