A Low Six-Figures Deal for Historic U.K. Photo

Back in 1984, the Getty Museum acquired “Pasha and Bayadère” (pictured), a rare photo taken by Victorian era war photographer Roger Fenton. Even though the picture is thought to have been staged at the artist’s north London studio rather than taken during one of his globe-trotting expeditions, it is still considered to be a critical artifact of early UK photography.

The only other copy of the photo was set to be purchased earlier this year in England by North American collectors. However, at the last minute, the National Media Museum in Bradford stepped in and plunked down the equivalent of $168,000 to ensure that the other half of this Fenton legacy remains on home soil.

There’s a bit of Hollywood-style trickery animating the photo. Though you can’t really tell from looking at it, the upheld hands of the dancing girl (bayadère) entertaining the high-ranking official (pasha) are being held in place by pieces of string attached to the ceiling above.

A Getty spokesperson tells FishbowlLA their Fenton copy is currently not on display but rather is being kept in an archival box in a climatized storage box.