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Around half of these albumen prints of c.1870-90, mostly measuring 9 x 12in (23 x 30cm) or slightly smaller and including several impressive panoramas, are signed and numbered in the negative by Irishmen John Burke and William Baker, pioneer photographers in India who spent much of the time in the hostile environment of the north-west.

Burke and Baker, the Hay cataloguers tell us, “shunned the social high life of the country and their work is more revealing and historically important than that of other European photographers working in India during the 19th century”. Their photographs, it seems, are seldom encountered outside albums such as this, and they are now scarce. This album, bound in contemporary green half morocco, and with all images captioned in a contemporary hand, was taken by a trade bidder at £5400.

Other highlights of the Hay sale were rather less exalted in financial terms. Pomponazzi’s Tractatus de Immortalitate Animae of 1534, bound in 17th or 18th century plum calf, made £260 (Pucci); three copybooks of c.1757-58 containing mathematical and astronomical exercises by one John Jackson of Cockermouth in Cumbria sold at £250 (Hotten); a copy of Richard Fenton’s Historical Tour through Pembrokeshire of 1810 realised £200 (Garfi); a copy of the 1875, first French edition of Marx’s Le Capital, in defective original wrappers, made £270 (Loulou) and an 1883 first of Henty’s Friends, though Divided, a Civil War tale in original pictorial cloth, reached £180.