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Details & Cataloguing

English Literature, History, Children’s Books & Illustrations

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[Fleming, Ian]--Walther
JAMES BOND’S WALTHER GUN, AS USED BY SEAN CONNERY IN THE PUBLICITY SHOTS FOR FOUR JAMES BOND FILMS, AND FEATURED IN “THE MOST FAMOUS OF ALL BOND IMAGES”
Walther air pistol, LP Model 53, serial number 054159, 24cm barrel with black finish, manufacturer’s fitted presentation case with sight elements, some minor marks;
[together with]
letter of provenance from original owner and later reproduction photograph showing Sean Connery holding the air pistol
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Provenance

Christie’s South Kensington, James Bond sale, 14 February 2001, lot 250 (£14,100)
Christie’s South Kensington, Popular Culture sale, 25 November 2010, lot 102 (£277,250)

Catalogue Note

For the second James Bond film, From Russia with Love, it was decided to shoot a publicity image of Sean Connery with his Walther pistol. The publicist Tom Carlile devised a series of poses and the photographer David Hurn was commissioned for the photo shoot. When Connery arrived at the photo studio, together with Tom Carlile and representatives from United Artists, it was discovered that nobody had brought James Bond’s small Walther automatic pistol.

Hurn recalled that “by chance it happened that I practised air pistol target shooting as a hobby and the pistol I used was a Walther. It was decided between Tom and myself, that… we would use my pistol for the pictures and presumed that should anyone have doubts on their seeing the name Walther on the gun they would be reassured… In theory Tom should have had the long barrel of the air pistol removed by airbrushing during the designing of the actual poster – in practice, for reasons, unknown, this was never done.”

The series of publicity shots was used for From Russia with Love (1963) and then the following three films: Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965) and You Only Live Twice (1967).

Hurn notes that “the picture of Sean Connery holding the gun across his chest or alongside his face became the most famous of all Bond images”.

English Literature, History, Children’s Books & Illustrations

|
London