Francis Meadow Sutcliffe, FRPS (1853-1941), was born in Headingley, Leeds, the eldest of eight children of the painter Thomas Sutcliffe (†1871). He first worked in Tunbridge Wells before returning to the family home in Broomfield terrace, Whitby, and later moving with his wife Eliza, née Duck, and their four children, to the nearby village of Sleights. Sutcliffe made a living as a portrait photographer, influenced by prominent figures in the world of art such as John Ruskin, to whom he was introduced as a boy by his father. His work provided an enduring record of life in and around Whitby in the late Victorian and Edwardian eras. His most famous photograph, Water Rats (1886), featuring naked children playing in a boat, earned him condemnation from his local clergy who excommunicated him, but did not stop the then Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) from purchasing a copy. A regular columnist for the Yorkshire Weekly Post, his work is in the collection of the Whitby Literary and Philosophical Society, and in other national collections. The medals ranged from Scotland to the USA to Austria and more local places like Keighley; and were sold by a private vendor.
As Peter Preston-Morley, Head of Coin Department at Dix Noonan Webb, commented: “This is the first that I have seen such an extensive collection of photography medals awarded to one person. When these medals were awarded between 1870s-90s, photography was still a relatively new phenomenon – you normally see more dating from the end of the Victorian era, so 1900 – 1910 onwards. Sutcliffe was obviously at the forefront of his game, and was showered with awards, not only on a regional level from Yorkshire, but also nationally and internationally” [lot 763].
The auction of 942 lots saw 92.5% of lots sold. The three highest prices of the sale were for a an extremely fine George VI (1936-1952) proof set dating from 1937, comprising Five Pounds, Two Pounds, Sovereign and Half-Sovereign which realised £12,400 and was bought by a UK dealer [lot 186]; while a extremely fine Half-Rupee from Mysore India, during the reign of Tipu Sultan - believed to be the first recorded Half-Rupee of this mint also sold for £12,400 against an estimate of £4,000-£5,000. It had been consigned by a private UK resident and was bought by a German Collector [lot 455]. Also of note was a Roman Imperial Aureus dating from 55AD and the reign of Nero and Agrippina II, featuring their portraits which sold for £12,400. It had been estimated at £5,000-£6,000 and was bought by an overseas dealer. It had been sold by private UK resident. The reverse shows the funeral of Claudius in October 54, which, as Tacitus tells us, was consciously modelled on Augustus’ grand funeral some forty years earlier. Claudius was only the second emperor to be deified and is shown here with his divine ancestor in a car drawn by elephants [lot 847].
Another interesting Collection in sale was Part I of a group of 19th Century Tokens formed by John Akins that fetched £28,743. Comprising 108 lots, the highest price was paid for an extremely fine halfcrown token from Chichester (Sussex) dating from 1811 that sold to a collector in the USA for £2,108 against an estimate of £1,200-1,500 [lot 663].
Elsewhere, a gold Elizabeth II proof Diana Memorial Five Pound coin dating from 1997 in its case of issue with a certificate sold for £6,200 against an estimate of £1,500-£2,000. It was bought by a UK collector [lot 189]. The sale also included a some interesting metal-detecting finds - an extremely rare Robert the Bruce Farthing, that had been found in Norfolk was bought by a UK collector and fetched £4,712 against an estimate of £1,000-£1,200 [Lot 201], while a Harold II (1066) penny that was found in the Canterbury area sold for £4,712 to a UK dealer [lot 33].
FORTHCOMING SALES AT DNW
TUESDAY, JUNE 15 - JEWELLERY, WATCHES & OBJECTS OF VERTU
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NOTES TO EDITORS:
Dix Noonan Webb – a brief history
In 1991, its first year of trading, the company held three medal auctions and sold 1,200 lots for a total hammer price of £553,000, however 30 years later, DNW is established as the premier medal auctioneer worldwide. Two years later, in 1993, it opened a coin department which also auctions commemorative medals and tokens. In 2015 DNW added jewellery to its sales calendar as well as setting up a stand alone banknotes department and expanding into premises next door. In 2020 DNW achieved a total hammer price of £14,256,060 and the total number of lots sold across all departments was 24,400. To date the company has sold in excess of 350,000 lots totalling over £200 million.
For further press information and images please contact:
Rachel Aked - Tel: 07790732448/ Email: Rachel@rachelaked.co.uk