As we reported in the last newsletter, the Dr. John Murray sale of early Indian photography at Sotheby's in London just won't go away. Out of 224 lots, there are now a measly two lots remaining unsold, both with condition problems. That's OVER 99% sold, with nearly half of the action after the sale itself. We estimate that the auction results now top over £600,000 in sales, although we have not yet had confirmation on this figure.
The Murray material is currently selling in the secondary market for steep mark-ups of as much as 400+% by 19th century photo dealers, who made what they considered to be low wholesale purchases at the sale. While there is a lot of material, particularly paper negatives, most of it was bought for key private and institutional collections, and it's not likely to come on the market in any kind of quantity. While there is some diversity to the quality, the best images and negatives are spectacular. Their size and the panoramic nature of some just add to their impact. I talked to Indian collector Steve Gujral at some length. Like me, he was one of the big buyers at and immediately after the auction. He and I both agreed that this was a unique buying opportunity for these images, and he frankly gushed with enthusiasm that he was even more convinced of Murray's place in photographic history after finally getting his images home.
Several exhibitions and books largely focused or solely focused on Murray are in the works by several institutions and collectors.