A fascinating photograph album containing dozens of individually signed images of Lily Langtry - King Edward VII's mistress during the 1870s - brought $22,500 to Doyle New York yesterday (April 23).
Estimated at $9,000, the photographs, which were produced in order to promote Langtry's budding acting career, sold with an impressive 150% increase.
The 82 card-mounted photographs depict society beauty Langtry, a friend of Oscar Wilde and the subject of a painting by John Millais, in a number of costumes and poses. A particularly striking shot sees Langtry enrobed in a Japanese kimono, toting a fan in one hand and a parasol in the other.
"Bertie" and Lily are believed to have met at a dinner party during the 1870s. The pair embarked upon a passionate three year affair, during which the future king bought Langtry an expansive house in Dorset, UK, that would become their private retreat.
Although Edward married Queen Alexandra of Denmark in 1863, he is rumoured to have had numerous affairs with society-beauties of the period, Langtry among them.
The photograph album is one of the largest of its type ever offered at auction, and particularly interesting in that Langtry composed it herself, for her own ends.
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