Nadav Kander - Qinghai Province II
Qinghai Province II by Nadav Kander is one of the images going under the hammer.
Credit: Nadav Kander (Image reproduced by kind permission of Sotheby's)

Top photographers donate works to boost Bodleian campaign

Stuart Gillespie

Sixteen photographs by leading contemporary artists will be sold at a Sotheby's auction next month in support of the Bodleian Libraries' campaign to save the personal archive of William Henry Fox Talbot.

The campaign is a truly international effort, with the images being donated by major figures in contemporary photography from around the world, including Hiroshi Sugimoto, Miles Aldridge and John Swannell, Nadav Kander, Candida Höfer, Massimo Vitali, and Martin Parr.

Through this gesture, the artists are paying homage to Fox Talbot, the father of photography on paper and the art of which they are exponents.

For the auction, which will take place on 7 May, Sugimoto has donated two works, neither of which has previously been released into the market and both of which have been directly inspired by the Talbot archive. Also on sale will be Martin Parr's print taken at Lacock Abbey on the 150th anniversary of Talbot's invention in 1989.

Martin Parr - Lacock AbbeyMartin Parr's Lacock Abbey print will be one of the images on sale.
Credit: Martin Parr (Image reproduced by kind permission of Sotheby's)
Richard Ovenden, Bodley's Librarian, said: 'The acquisition of the Personal Archive of William has been an effort to preserve a major archive in the history of photography – a significant part of a collection already dispersed between other institutions – and to encourage scholarly activity in and around the archive in the University of Oxford.

'We are enormously grateful to the contemporary photographers who have devoted their energy and talent in producing the works which are offered in this auction. We warmly encourage bids: acquire a great photograph and help save a major archive, all at the same time.'

The Bodleian's appeal was launched in December 2012 with an initial deadline of the end of February 2013 to raise the £2.2 million pounds needed for purchasing the archive.

A significant grant of £1.2 million from the National Heritage Memorial Fund gave the appeal a vital boost. And with the addition of a recent gift from the Art Fund of £200,000, along with donations from numerous other private individuals and charitable trusts, the Bodleian has managed to secure almost £1.9 million towards the purchase of the archive.

The Bodleian has successfully negotiated an extension to the fundraising deadline and must raise the remaining £375,000 needed to fully fund the acquisition by August 2014.