Oldest photos of England taken as early as 1848 could be worth around £100,000

A HISTORIC photo album containing some of the oldest known photos of England could be about to sell for a small fortune.

The album contains images of southern England dating back to 1848 and will be auctioned later this month.

The rare photos include scenic shots as well as portraits of workers and children.

Experts have described the collection as "historically important".

The auction will take place on October 28.

Current estimates on how much the album will sell for predict anywhere between £50,000 to £70,000 ($65,000 to $90,000) or more.

Austin Farahar, Head of Photographica at Chiswick Auctions, told news agency SWNS: "The album has a narrative similar to any great artist’s sketchbook, full of experimentation, development and adjustments."

Chiswick Auctions revealed a man called Captain Thomas Honywood was responsible for taking the photos and captured people and places he loved.

It said in a statement: "Honywood's passion for photography and experimentation with various photochemical processes led him to patent a new photographic technique of 'Nature Printing'.

"This process enabled the transfer of positive images from nature onto a variety of surfaces, the success of which led Honywood to exhibit his work at the London International Inventions Exhibition of 1885 to much admiration."

Farahar said: "Before these photographs were discovered, every record or account of this part of England had been translated via the eyes and hands of an artist, perhaps with the assistance of the camera-lucida, but still from the subjective view of a draftsman.

"What we have here is a beautiful and extraordinary intersection of art and science."

They added: "This collection is of huge historical importance to the art of photography and the nation as a whole.

"The exceptional images are the earliest photographs we have of the southern region of England that are known to exist.

"The portraits of farmworkers, soldiers, firemen, and stunning landscape studies taken across Sussex are an incredibly rare slice of social history that should be preserved for current and future generations."

It's unclear exactly where some of the photos were taken or who they depict but that arguably adds to the charm and mystery of the pricey album.

UK mysteries ‘solved’ by archaeology

Here are some of the most exciting discoveries that have happened in Britain…

  • Richard III final resting place: The skeleton of King Richard III was discovered by archaeologists in a supermarket carpark in Leicester in 2013
  • How Stonehenge was built: The huge monoliths that make up Stonehenge may have been dragged there using greasy sledges lubricated with pig fat, according to new research from Newcastle University
  • Why there were 39 decapited skulls at the London Wall: Skulls discovered within the boundaries of ancient London back in 1988 are now believed to have belonged to gladiators who were beheaded for amusement purposes thanks to a recent reassessment of the remains
  • Queen Emma's remains: The lost bones belonging to an 11th-century English queen called Queen Emma are believed to have been found in a chest in Winchester Cathedral

In other historic news, details of the grave of a 'warlord' who may have ruled a tribe after the collapse of Roman Britain have been revealed.

A sunken ship has been found in almost perfect condition despite spending 400 years underwater.

And, Ancient Egyptian coffins sealed for thousands of years have been found down a burial shaft.

What do you think of the really old photos? Let us know in the comments…

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