13th Dec, 2023 10:30 GMT/BST

Books, Maps & Manuscripts

  Lot 61


Vittorio Sella [1859-1943].
The Matterhorn (Cervino), six large format silver print photographs of the mountain, comprising:
5 - Alte Alpi. Cervino dall’Unter-Theodule Gletscher, nell’inverno 1884, depicting a figure on the glacier looking towards the peak.
Slight retouching to the figure and glacier surface, manuscript description to lower margin, portrait;
124 - Cervino dalla Valle Zmutt (Zermatt) 4 Agosto 1883, an unusual view of the ridge.
Blind-stamped ‘Vittorio Sella, Biella’ lower right, printed title on slip to lower margin, portrait;
423 - Cervino (Matterhorn) e Monte Rosa dal Col des Grandes-Murailles 4000m circa, view of the peak with mountain range in background.
Very lightly tinted, matt, blind-stamped ‘Vittorio Sella, Biella’ to lower right, printed title on slip to lower margin, landscape;
With three untitled views, one portrait and two landscape, one in which the tinted foreground of two mountaineers and equipment is skilfully superimposed over a view of the Matterhorn (this image has some retouching to the skyline and some red scuffing to top right).
The other landscape photograph is framed and glazed and appears to have had its margins removed or folded.
Silver prints on bromide double weight paper, sheet size 300mm x 397mm, unglazed glossy unless stated, believed printed later than the dates given.
C Douglas Milner described Vittorio Bella as ‘the greatest of all photographers of [his] generation’ (A Century of Mountain Photography, Alpine Club Journal, Nov 1957). For a detailed description of his life and work, see Ronald Clark’s monograph ‘The Splendid Hills, The Life and Photographs of Vittorio Sella, 1859-1943’, Phoenix House, 1948.
[provenance, the photographs were purchased in 1945 by the vendor’s father, a British Army Captain, while stationed in the town of Biella]. (6)

Sold for £1,300
Estimated at £300 - £500


The untitled valley view has nicked top margin and stain to lower margin, there are a couple of scratches in the image. The composed view has red scuff marks to the RHS as described. There are also some small indentations to the LHS. There is a small indentation to the lower part of 124. A little dust marking present on reverse of some prints, edges a little curled.


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Regarding Pictures, Prints and Works on Paper, works are not examined out of the frame, unless specifically stated. Tennants Auctioneers do not cover damage to gilded wood or plaster picture frames, or to picture frame glass whilst the item is in our possession.

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Auction: Books, Maps & Manuscripts, 13th Dec, 2023

The Books, Maps and Manuscripts sales encompass a broad range of collecting areas from early antiquarian books to modern first editions, which are sold alongside illustrations, private press, manuscripts, maps and atlases, early photographs, autographed letters and historic documents. Held four times a year, the specialist Book sales incorporate both private collections and libraries, and single lots from vendors across the United Kingdom.


Tuesday 12 December 10am-5pm and morning of sale from 8am

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