'World's first selfie' dating to 1850s fetches 70k pounds

Last Updated 15 September 2014, 09:13 IST

A self-portrait by a renowned 19th-century Swedish photographer, described as the world's first selfie, has sold for a whopping 70,000 pounds at a UK auction.

The image by Oscar Rjelander, which dates from the 1850s, sold for seven times its estimate at an auction in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England.

The portrait, predating the modern day Twitter selfie phenomenon by more than 150 years, is part of a leather bound album of 70 albumen prints by the pioneering artist, 'yorkpress.co.uk' reported.

"The vendor brought the album into the office, and asked for it to be sold with a reserve of 100 pounds. We quickly realised it was quite an important album of early photographs, when the art was really in its infancy," Morphets auctioneers director Liz Pepper-Darling said.

The album attracted interest from across the world, and eventually sold to a foreign institution, Pepper-Darling said.

"The vendor was in the room at the time, and had a very big smile on his face," said Pepper-Darling.

Rjelander, who started out as a painter before taking up photography, became famous for his photomontage print 'The Two Ways of Life' which caused a scandal because of the partially nude subjects, the report said.

He sold the album of 70 prints to a naval hydrographer Captain George Browning, and it was passed down through the family to the vendor.

The album is thought to be the first body of work by Rjelander ever sold in public.

(Published 15 September 2014, 09:13 IST)

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