Dageurrotype from Calcutta, 1847 – £17,000 at Dominic Winter.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

The antiques and militaria amassed by Webb (1923-2019) were dispersed last year by Dix Noonan Webb and Dominic Winter.

Most of the cased images, sold by Dominic Winter (20% buyer’s premium) in South Cerney on December 16, had been kept unrestored in a display cabinet in a ‘museum room’ at Webb’s home in Islington.

JFC, family and friends

This rare three-quarter-plate daguerreotype was taken outdoors in a compound courtyard of the Dum Dum Artillery Station in Calcutta in February 1847. Although the photographer is unknown, a contemporary manuscript note by JFC identifies the army officers as (left to right) Lieutenant John Staples, Brigadier General Richard Powney and Captain Francis Claude Burnett with My dear Father, Mother & myself.

JFC’s father appears to wear a uniform cap but as he is in civilian dress he may be a chaplain, surgeon, judge or administrator.

Measuring 7 x 5in (17 x 13cm), this rare informal image of colonial military life taken during the first decade of commercial photography was estimated at £3000-5000 but sold at a sale-topping £17,000.