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11 years ago, April 1, 2006

Early photos are captured at £75,000

A lot described simply as “a quantity of 19th century photographs” with an estimate of £80-120 sold for £75,000 at Penrith Farmers’ & Kidd’s March 22 sale.

The unpromising description had been enough to pique the interest of Ken and Jenny Jacobson, keen-eyed specialists in early photography, who became convinced this was something worth travelling north for. The 19th century photographs were daguerreotypes, dating from the 1840s and ’50s and depicted architectural studies of Europe, including some of Venice.

The Jacobsons, who are now in the process of researching their purchase, described it as a “very exciting discovery”.


It later transpired that the images were bought, commissioned or made by John Ruskin between 1849-55, when he was writing The Stones of Venice.

They were last recorded when the contents of Ruskin’s home, Brantwood in the Lake District, were dispersed at auction in 1931.

In 2015 the Jacobsons published the book, Carrying Off the Palaces: John Ruskin’s Lost Daguerreotypes, presenting the 325 images alongside essays describing Ruskin’s process and artistic circle, and with Ruskin’s own words on the subject of photography.