Auctions | April 25, 2013

Fine Portrait of Dylan Thomas at Bonhams Poetry Sale

Bonhams is to sell a fine photographic portrait of Dylan Thomas standing outside the Boathouse in Laugharne taken by the American photographer Rollie McKenna and printed personally by her.


It features in the sale of The Roy Davids Collection Part III: Poetry: Poetical Manuscripts and Portraits of Poets at Bonhams, New Bond Street on 8 May.   


The photograph, taken in 1952, shows Thomas leaning casually against the door of the Boathouse and looking directly into the camera. It is estimated at £1,500 -2,000.

Also in the sale is a print of McKenna’s famous photograph of Thomas in New York in 1953 at rehearsals for a performance of his radio drama, ‘Under Milk Wood’. It was taken in October shortly before Thomas’s health finally collapsed leading to his death on 9 November at the age of 39.  The photograph shows the poet, cigarette in mouth, stabbing the air with his right hand, a look of fierce intensity in his eyes. This image which was also personally printed by the photographer is estimated at £600-800.


Poetry: Poetical Manuscripts and Portraits of Poets, is the fruit of 40 years of collecting by the poet and scholar Roy Davids and is the finest collection of poetry and images of poets ever to come to auction.  In Mr David’s own words, “it would now be impossible for the present collection to be even approximately replicated.”


For more information on the sale, go to www.bonhams/books.