December 2015 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Gandhi's Signed Photo to a Lion-Taming MP

528L15408_8N3FT.jpgComing to auction tomorrow is a remarkable photo--a black and white profile portrait of Mohandas Gandhi, signed in black ink, and given to John Smith Clarke (1885-1959), a British adventurer, lion tamer, and Member of Parliament for Glasgow Maryhill from 1929 to 1931.

Clarke belonged to the Independent Labour Party, which hosted a birthday lunch for Gandhi at Westminster on October 2, 1931, when this autographed photo likely exchanged hands, according to Sotheby's. At that very occasion, Gandhi said, "It is no answer to be told that there are some in India who are afraid of the words 'freedom' and 'independence' ... I assure you that the starving millions and those who have become politically conscious entertain no such fear and they are ready to pay the price for the sake of freedom..." Gandhi had been visiting Britain for the Second Round Table Conference from September 7 to December 1, 1931, a series of meetings on the future of India's government.

Signed photographs of Gandhi are uncommon, and this one in particular brings a momentous historical period to the surface. It is estimated to sell for £3,000-5,000 ($4,591-7,651).

Image via Sotheby's.