Britain's earliest X-rays could see their way to $32,500 at Bonhams

As we've reported, Bonhams is holding a very special sale at the end of March, even by its own standards.

The Roy Davids Collection features over 500 manuscripts and portraits of major figures from the worlds of literature, history, travel and exploration, art, science, philosophy and psychology. It reflects the tastes and life-time interests of one of Britain's foremost collectors.

Chief amongst the highlights are an exceptionally rare and moving love letter from Keats to his fiancée Fanny Brawne and a rare Blake letter detailing his watercolour, The Last Judgement.

However, the sale is not limited to great manuscripts. Included is a collection of seven of the first x-ray photographs created in Britain, by Alan Archibald Campbell Swinton.

Earliest X-rays
Earliest X-rays

Swinton was an electrical engineer born in Edinburgh in 1863. In 1882 he began a five-year apprenticeship in the engineering works of Sir William Armstong, writing The Principles and Practice of Electric Lighting while there.

He was the first to use lead-covered wires and cables for electric wiring in ships, pioneered the use of cathode rays in such experiments as the conversion of diamond into coke and was connected with the early development of the steam turbine.

He also first proposed the use of cathode ray tubes both for the transmission of pictures and for their reception.

The photographs, listed at a modest £10,000-20,000 include ones of hands and fingers, coins, razors, a corkscrew and other metals. As we've noted, X-rays can makes it strong investments. Bonhams' sale takes place on March 29 in London.


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