One of Julia Bennett's photographic portraits which is part of an archive offered by Carl Williams Rare Books.

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Carl Williams Rare Books is offering a collection of around 22,000 photographic portraits.

Relatively unknown today, Julia Bennett documented tens of thousands of people living in 20th century London. Her archive, left well organised, is offered apparently complete in its original filing cabinets.

Most were taken at her studio on 73 Oxford Street, though some are from Africa and India.

Around 20,000 of the prints are in black and white, while the remaining 2000 or so are in colour. The London dealership acquired the collection from a private owner who bought it at Bennett’s house clearance auction held by Marcus Rowell. Sitters include barristers, diplomats, academics, scientists and many employees of IBM for whom Bennett appears to have been the unofficial photographer.

According to the catalogue entry: “There seem to have been many ‘walkins’ and repeat private customers – located as she was on one of the busiest thoroughfares in the world. The archive is dotted with technical instructions and ordering schedules and offers a wonderful glimpse into the analogue world that is now largely gone.”

The archive is available for £25,000.