Charles Rolls collection of Wright Bros aviation photos (PT294)

Charles Stewart Rolls was a pioneering motorist and aviator.

In 1896 he was among the first drivers to break the speed limit. In 1902 Rolls began selling cars and following his meeting with F. H. Royce in 1904, the world famous company Rolls-Royce was born.

In 1901 he helped to found the Aero Club and became a keen balloonist. In 1910 he turned his attention to aeroplanes and was the first to fly non-stop across the English Channel and back.

In July that year, however, tragedy struck and Rolls was killed when his Wright biplane broke up in mid-air in Bournemouth. He was the first person to die in an aircraft accident in Britain. 

This small collection shows Charles Rolls' interest in the Wright Bros and his request for photos of their flying machines, prior to his purchase of a Wright Flyer which led to his early demise.

The Collection: 

charles rolls wright brothers

charles rolls wright brothers

The collection comprises seven very rare original black and white photos showing Wilbur Wright's first European flight at Le Mans, France, on 8 August 1908.

charles rolls wright brothers

charles rolls wright brothers

These photos were posted to Charles Rolls, on his request on 20 October 1908, following his first airplane flight with Wilbur Wright on 8 October 1908, and prior to his purchase of a Wright Flyer. 

charles rolls wright brothers

charles rolls wright brothers

The photos show Wilbur Wright at the controls, the plane taking off, and flying.

charles rolls wright brothers

Also included is the original addressed envelope used to post the collection of photographs to Charles Rolls. The photos were sent by M.Rol & Co, an international photography agency based in Paris, France

charles rolls wright brothers

There is also a copy of "An Aeroplane Flight With Wilbur Wright": Charles Rolls' incredible personal account of his first flight with Wilbur Wright.

"Suffice it to say that after experience with every form of locomotion, including cycle and motor racing... there is nothing so fascinating or exhilirating as flying."


An aeroplane flight with Wilbur Wright charles rolls


17 December 1903 - Wright Bros first powered flight in USA

Charles Rolls went to the USA in 1906 to exhibit the Rolls-Royce cars at the New York Motor Show.  While he was there he attended an exhibition organised by the Aero Club of America. and was introduced to the Wright brothers by Patrick Alexander who was a member of the Aero Club.

8 August 1908 - these photos were taken during Wilbur's first flight in Europe, at Le Mans, France

On 8 October 1908 Charles Rolls travelled to Camp D'Auvours, France to take part in his first airplane flight with Wilbur Wright.

On 20 October 1908 this collection of photos was sent by M.Rol & Co, an international photography agency based in Paris, France, to Charles Rolls. The original envelope addressed to the 'Hon. Chas S Rolls' is included in the collection.

When the Wright brothers came to Britain in May 1909 to discuss the building of their flying machines, Rolls accompanied them and their sister, Katherine, throughout their three day stay and even drove Orville Wright to the Aero Club at Leysdown on the Isle of Sheppey in a Rolls Royce Silver Ghost.

Rolls subsequently purchased a Wright Flyer and on 12 July 1910 was sadly killed in an aviation accident when the tail of his Wright Flyer broke off during a flying display over Bournemouth - he was 32 years old.

A quite remarkable collection of aviation history involving the two pioneers, Charles Rolls and Wilbur Wright.

For sale: £4,950

For further details, or to purchase, please email or telephone +44 (0) 117 933 9503


For sale: £4,950

For further information email or telephone +44 (0) 117 933 9500

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