The Washing Place | Vence (France)

The Washing Place | Vence (France)

This is a rare hand-pulled photogravure by British photographer James A. Sinclair. It shows women washing clothes in Vence, France.

James Arthur Sinclair, F.R.P.S.  1863-1940

He was a member of the Liverpool Amateur Photographic Association, elected a member of the RPS in 1892, Hon. Secretary and Treasurer of the Photographic Club and a prominent user of the bromoil process.From the Early Photography website (2024)

James Alfred Sinclair, F.R.P.S. (d. 1940), was an extraordinarily distinguished person in the history of British photography. For many years he owned and ran the famous photographic shop at no. 3 Whitehall, on the corner of Trafalgar Square, London. From 1910 his partnership with A.S. Newman resulted in the design and sale of some of the very best-known British cameras. These included the film cameras used for such era-defining films as Man of Aran (Robert Flaherty, 1934), the cameras used on the 1922 Mallory Everest expedition, and those taken on Polar expeditions by Frank Hurley. James Sinclair’s cameras, whether sold under his own name like the famous UNA family of still cameras, or under the Newman-Sinclair brand, were world leaders of their time. Sinclair was a pioneering advocate of alternative printing processes and the author of notable guides on many aspects of photography. He was for many years the principal supplier of bromoil printing equipment.

What has not been known is that Sinclair was also a highly talented photographer in his own right. Year after year, he went on holiday either by bicycle or in a car and printed his own photographs and had them finely bound in leather albums, as a personal photographic record of his life and travels.

This collection of more than 80 of Sinclair’s little albums, comprises over 6000 photographs. They range in date from 1889 to 1938, and show a full spectrum of manner from sentimental landscape to personal memento and pioneering reportage. No more than a handful of the images in these albums is known to exist outside of this collection.

It is exceptionally rare to find the ‘complete work’ of any photographer, but that is to all intents and purposes what is offered here. This collection represents the photographer’s selection from his entire lifetime’s output. – Sotheby’s, London: Photographs: Sale: L09780,  19 May 2009 (unsold or withdrawn)

The Washing Place | Vence (France)

Image Dimensions11.1 x 16.8 cm possibly vellum

Support Dimensions16.8 x 21.3 | 22.5 x 27.7 cm with overmatt

Print Notes

Recto:  Signed by the artist at lower left of primary mount: The Washing Place  Vence; James A. Sinclair  1935. lower right corner.


Purchased for this archive in August, 2023 from dealer in Wiltshire, United Kingdom.