Sold for £3400 on September 12 by Tennants (20% buyer’s premium), this work by Frederick Bremner focuses on “… the Races enlisted in the Bengal, Punjab, Madras and Bombay Armies”.
A Scot, Bremner was one of many British photographers active in the sub-continent and worked for his brother-in-law before opening his own studio in Karachi. He later opened several other studios and in this work Quetta, the largest city of Baluchistan, near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, appears in the imprint.
Bremner’s work remains of particular importance for the fact that he worked in Baluchistan and Sindh, regions that were otherwise rarely photographed.
Founding father's views on sheep
This work was the most expensive lot in the Yorkshire sale, but though a number of others registered four-figure bids, my second selection is an 1811, London edition of an Essay on Sheep by Robert R Livingston that made just £130.
Many of Tennants’ book specialist Mike Drew’s catalogue descriptions provide a great deal of background, even for quite modestly valued lots, and in this instance his catalogue notes ran across a page and a half.
In it he notes that this London edition of Drew’s work contained a preface written by the imprisoned William Cobbett in his Newgate cell, and comments (or records) of this work that the “… little time it devotes to sheep rearing, it makes up for in economic and political assessment of the effect of the wool trade of America ceasing to rely on European wool”.
Livingston was one of the Founding Fathers. Along with Jefferson, Franklin, Adams and Sherman, he was one of the five men who drafted the Declaration of Independence.
An eminent American lawyer, he was known as the ‘Chancellor’ after the New York state office he held for 25 years.
Aside from law and nation building, Livingston was also a breeder of sheep, notably Merinos – but for much more detail on the man and his little book, look to Lot 143 in the archived sale catalogue on the Tennants website or thesaleroom.com