British photographer Francis Frith didn’t travel light on his 1858 trip to Egypt. His kit included huge cameras, masses of equipment, and even a mobile darkroom. What resulted was one of the most remarkable books of photographs ever produced, containing 20 views, each measuring 30 x 21 inches, of Egypt, Sinai and Jerusalem. The book, considered the largest with the biggest, non-enlarged prints ever assembled, is expected to fetch $77,500-$108,500 at Bonhams’ Books, Maps, Manuscripts and Historical Photographs sale in London on June 12.
Frith made his prints with what’s known as the “wet collodion process,” in which the photographer coated the plates with light sensitive emulsions immediately before exposure. This required Firth to travel with a store of dangerous chemicals. Returning from Egypt, Frith set out on the ambitious task of photographing every town and village in the U.K. His work was the focus of a recent BBC series, “Britain’s First Photo Album.”