A Sea Of Steps -- Wells Cathedral

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A Sea Of Steps -- Wells Cathedral

England, 1903
Photographs
Platinum print
Image: 9 x 7 1/4 in. (22.86 x 18.44 cm)
The Marjorie and Leonard Vernon Collection, gift of The Annenberg Foundation and Carol Vernon and Robert Turbin (M.2008.40.736)
Not currently on public view

History

A Sea of Steps, by Fredrick Evans, was Leonard Vernon’s last major purchase....
A Sea of Steps, by Fredrick Evans, was Leonard Vernon’s last major purchase. Miriam Katz, former collections manager for the Vernons, describes this thrilling acquisition of this important early 20th century photography as Mr. Vernon’s “holy grail.” Describing the story, Katz said:

"I assisted in the last major purchase of his life and it was very important to him...an auction purchase, in the last year of his life. It was Frederick Evans, A Sea of Steps, and it was really his Holy Grail. Very early on in their collection, they had acquired a portfolio of 10 Frederick Evans prints, and the portfolio was incomplete. I think their intent all along had been to get A Sea of Steps and then the portfolio arrived and that one print wasn’t included! In 2007 it came up for auction. The auction was at 6:00 a.m. LA time…Leonard was sitting in bed, auction catalogue in hand, phone to his ear and he was jotting notes on every lot that went up for sale. This was really the pinnacle of his collecting, and all his faculties were focused on this sale. He was so excited to get it - obsessed is the word! He had me re-hang the entire gallery when it arrived, an installation focused on the theme of stairs and steps.
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Bibliography

  • Salvesen, Britt. See the Light: Photography, Perception, Cognition: the Marjorie and Leonard Vernon Collection. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art; New York: DelMonico Books/Prestel, 2013.