Tuesday 10 March 2015

Four Simon Marsden prints for auction at Sotheby's

Prints of four of the late Sir Simon Marsden's infrared photographs are included in Sotheby's 2015 Made in Britain auction. This takes place on the morning of March 25th.

Simon Marsden: Dunnottar Castle, Scotland

The four, in two lots, are his famous shot of Moydrum Castle in Ireland, as shown in the Infrared 100 exhibition in 2010, together with an atmospheric view of Dunnottar Castle in Scotland (above) and shots of Whitby Abbey and a gargoyle at Toddington Manor in Gloucestershire. Estimates for the two lots are both between £1,500 and £2,500.

In the same auction last year there was a lot of four of his prints, which exceeded their top estimate to fetch £4,375.

Like Minor White, Ansel Adams and others, Simon saw the print as (to quote Adams) 'the performance' where the negative is 'the score'. This places a great importance on the printing process, especially when the photographer does the printing (as did Simon). Whether this analogy means that no-one else can legitimately print a photographer's negatives is a difficult point, since following the musical theme it would mean that we should discount Sir John Eliot Gardiner's performances of a Beethoven symphony simply because only Beethoven himself could conduct it (other great conductors are available). But I'm just being devil's advocate ... sadly Simon will print no more and this is a chance to own the authentic manifestation of his vision. There are very few prints of Simon's work around and it's likely that there will be no more prints made. Plus, I am always delighted when people take artistic infrared photography seriously.


Lot 107, Moydrum and Castles, sold for £1750 while, sadly, the other lot didn't sell.