Auction Preview: Bonham’s 15 June

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POLICE PHOTOGRAPHS OF VOLUNTEERS DUBLIN, MAY 1916 gelatin silver prints 75x100mm

Inevitably this year has been, and will likely continue to be heavy with auctions featuring items of relevance to the 1916 Easter Rising. Rather like the number of persons subsequently claiming to have been in the GPO during that momentous week, these sales have shown that the amount of extant material from the time has proven to be more substantial than was originally suspected. One lot of interest coming up at a Fine Books Manuscripts auction at Bonhams in London on 15 June is well-substantiated and of considerable interest. It is a set of twelve police photographs of Volunteers arrested between 5 and 11 May 1916, their pictures subsequently taken at Richmond Barracks showing the detainees in classic fashion both face on and in profile, together with their names, arrest dates and index numbers written below. The photographs were owned by a Dublin police sergeant of the time, Patrick Smith, who gave them to his son Edward, then on convalescent leave from the Western Front, and they remained in the family until last sold by Bonhams in February 1998. The persons shown are not the leaders of the Rising but regular participants, and their photographs have a vivid immediacy that has been lost to the more famous names owing to our familiarity with their portraits. A fascinating insight into who were the Easter 1916 Volunteers, this lot is expected to sell for £2,000-£4,000.

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