JULIA MARGARET CAMERON
BROWNING'S SORDELLO (HENRY JOHN STEDMAN COTTON AND MARY RYAN)
albumen print, on a gilt-ruled mount, with the Colnaghi blindstamp on the mount, 1867 (Cox 1108)
13⅛ by 10⅛ in. (33.3 by 25.7 cm.)
Grading this albumen print on a scale of 1 to 10 – a 10 being a print with deep brown dark tones and cream-toned highlights that retain all of their original detail – this print rates an 8.
As is frequently the case with Cameron's photographs, the lack of deep dark tones in this print is not the result of fading; rather, the print's tonality itself appears somewhat light overall. The highlights are yellowed but the midtones and darks are a pleasing reddish-chocolate. Silvering, scuffs, superficial scratches, and a few fox marks are visible in raking light. There is an approximately 2-inch area of surface unevenness at the upper right edge.
The brittle mount is age-darkened on the front and reverse. It is soiled in several places and has foxmarks varying in tone. There are two tears, one at the lower left and one at the upper right corner, neither affecting the print. The corners and edges are softly bumped and there are a few small losses. The mount is darkened in a thin band at the periphery of the image. There are two adhesive stains in the upper left and upper right corners. 'Sir Henry [illeg.] Cotton / (Mary Ryan)' is written in an unidentified hand in pencil.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
Collection of Sir Henry John Stedman and Mary (Ryan) Cotton
By descent to the present owner
Sir Henry John Stedman Cotton was the Chief Commissioner of Assam (1896-1902). He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Star of India in the 1902 Coronation Honors and invested as such by King Edward VI on October 1902. He and Mary Ryan, the sitters pictured here, had four children. This photograph, as well as Lot 178, has passed by descent from Cotton to the present owner.