Friday - 01 August 2014

The history of aviation in photographs

11 June 2003Written by ATG Reporter

THOUGH the May 21 sale held by Dominic Winter was a collectors’ sale that also included motoring, maritime and railway models, photographs, prints, etc., it was the aviation material that had star billing. There was yet another selection from the Amédée Gauthier collection of photographs, arranged as before in thematic lots.

Seen right are three images from a group of 70, gathered under the heading ‘Passenger Comfort’ and dealing with airline interiors 1920-50, that sold at £320. From top to bottom they show lunch being served on an Air France DC6, sleeping accommodation on an un-named TWA aircraft (one of the Boeing Clipper flying boats?) and the well upholstered seating available to pioneer air passengers on a Farman Goliath, biplane airliner of c.1925.

With a particular emphasis on the WWI period, this remarkable archive – mostly comprising later or non-vintage photographs but including some period images – was the biggest lot in a vast photographic archive built up over a period of 50 years by the late J.M. Bruce (1923-2002), Keeper of the RAF Museums and a man whose name is familiar to anyone with even a passing interest in aviation history.
Elsewhere in the catalogue, a group of three letters sent by Richard Dimbleby from Berlin in 1946 to Carol Roehm, a teenage BBC World Service listener from America who had been confined to her bed by osteomyelitis throughout the war, sold at £1000. One letter was written on a “precious” sheet of Adolf Hitler’s headed notepaper that Dimbleby had found in the Chancellery and had originally accompanied an Iron Cross found at the same time. “You will see that the old man had his name printed in gold on top,” wrote Dimbleby, “but it didn’t get him far”.

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