A 1897 photo-portrait of Anton Chekhov sold for £13,000 by Christie’s.

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Sold at £13,000 was a cabinet photo-portrait of Chekhov taken by his elder brother, Alexander, a talented amateur, in 1897 – just before Anton’s departure for a winter stay at Biarritz necessitated by his worsening tuberculosis.

By 1899 Chekhov had moved to Yalta, on the Black Sea coast, where he spent his last years and died in 1904. Father Grigory Vinogradov, to whom the portrait is signed and inscribed, was an archpriest from the Kuban region.

Fine and dandy


Bearing the very rarely encountered signature/inscription of Mikhail Bulgakov, this 1927 photo-portrait made £26,000 at Christie’s.

Dating from 1927, the year before he began work on his masterpiece, The Master and Margarita, the portrait of Mikhail Bulgakov is inscribed to Vladimir Petrovich Nemeshaev, director of the copyright office of the Moscow Society of Dramatic Writers and Composers.

It seems to show a rather severe-looking figure, but Christie’s focused on the “noticeably dandefied appearance characteristic of his portraits at this period, a time when he could often be seen sporting a monocle, a bow-tie and even a bowler hat”.

Bulgakov’s autograph is exceptionally rare on the market, it appears, and this inscribed photo-portrait sold at £26,000.