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Cecil Beaton photograph of the Wyndham-Quin sisters in 1950 – £6000 at Dreweatts.

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The idea was particularly apt as Sargent’s portrait (exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1900 and now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art) depicted the three daughters of Percy Wyndham – relatives of the Wyndham-Quin family.

The Wyndham-Quinn sisters wore ball gowns by gowns by Hardy Amies and Ronald Paterson.

This copy of Beaton’s photograph, above, is signed to the reverse in pencil alongside other notations in a different hand. Offered at Dreweatts (25% buyer’s premium) of Donnington Priory on March 18 with a guide of £400-600, it sold via thesaleroom.com at £6000.

Space travel

The previous day the auction house had offered a catalogue of photographs relating to space exploration.

Leading the sale at £8500 was a copy of the most iconic image from the Apollo 11 mission: the portrait of Buzz Aldrin with the lunar module and the photographer (Neil Armstrong) reflected in his gold-plated visor.

Taken on July 20, 1969, this celebrated image appears in its original form complete with Aldrin’s antenna at the top edge of the field-of-view. When used on the cover of Life Magazine, it was cropped and most of the antenna edited out.

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Viking 1 took this image of orange-red rocks on Mars on July 21, 1976 - £7500 at Dreweatts.

However, the star performer was a copy of the first colour photograph taken on the surface of Mars.

Viking 1 took this image of orange-red rocks on July 21, 1976. Printed on resin-coated Kodak paper at the NASA lab, an extensive caption verso explains it was taken the day after Viking’s successful landing on the planet with the local time about noon.

The reddish surface materials may be limonite (hydrated ferric oxide) that forms on Earth in the presence of water and an oxidising atmosphere. Estimated at £1000-1500, the photo sold online at £7500.