The Book of Bread by Owen Simmons, £1000 at Toovey’s.

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The Book of Bread, London, Maclaren & Sons, 1903, included alongside its information on manufacture detailed full-size images Simmons had commissioned of different loaf types – making it an item of photographical history as well as food interest.

He wrote: “However critical readers may be they will be forced to admit that never before have they seen such a complete collection of prize loaves illustrated in such an excellent manner.”


The Book of Bread by Owen Simmons, £1000 at Toovey’s.

A copy of this early production of a ‘photobook’ in the modern sense – designed to impress rather than just an archive – was offered at West Sussex saleroom Toovey’s (24.5% buyer’s premium) on April 24. It was actually a limited edition, one of 350 deluxe copies released before the trade version.

In original red morocco, gilt lettering to upper cover, it comprised 10 tipped-in silver bromide prints on black card, 12 chromolithographed plates, photographic illustrations in the text, advertisements and ‘List of Subscribers’ to the rear. An appendix detailed more than 360 baking experiments.

Simmons hoped this work would establish “the link between the bakery and the laboratory” while taking in “the needs of the baker and of the miller”.

The trade edition featured lower-quality photos because of the larger print run. It is thought that very few deluxe versions survive. This example, estimated at £400-600, hammered at £1000.