Skip to content

Photographica & Camera Auction


  • Plenty Close, Off Hambridge Road, NEWBURY RG14 5RL, UK

The Bill Barnes Collection Lot 1 to Lot 89

Dr William Barnes, Bill to his friends, passed away in 2019, shortly after his 99th birthday. Bill and his twin brother John were lifelong collectors of items relating to cinema and photography. They were born in London and developed an early passion for film. In the 1930s, they made films together of Kent and Cornwall, and while at Canford school in Dorset, they ran its cinema. In 1939, they studied film technique and design at the studio of Edward Carrick, in Soho Square, London, and bought several Victorian optical toys from a bookshop in Cecil Court, off Charing Cross Road. This was the start of their collection and of their ambition for it to represent the history of moving pictures from the 17th to the early 20th centuries, including magic lanterns, shadow play, panoramas, dioramas, silhouettes, peepshows and the early forms of cinema - then considered the ‘detritus’ of the photo-film industries.  

After wartime service in the Royal Navy they became book dealers in St Ives, Cornwall, specialising in pre-cinema and film. They held their first exhibition there in 1951, Festival of Britain year, and in 1956 items from their collection were displayed at The Observer’s exhibition Sixty Years of Cinema. In 1963 John set up a cinema museum in St Ives, while Bill had an antique stall in London. Their collection filled two whole floors of a house in Fore Street and, as one of the first film museums, it became a focal point for scholars worldwide. The collection grew hugely at that time. The museum closed in 1986, but Bill continued collecting, and the fruits of his searches provided a significant amount of primary material for John’s books. He devoted over twenty-five years to the production of his five-volume opus, The Beginnings of the Cinema in England, 1894-1901, a comprehensive investigation that charts the medium's technological, cultural, economic and geographical development. Bill served as its co-producer, given his understanding of the subject and the surviving documentation. Bill was a familiar sight at London’s Portobello Road market, and a regular attendee of specialist auctions. Much of the material that he acquired was shown to friends at delightful soirées at his London home! In the 1990s most of the magic lantern items in the collection were acquired by the National Museum of Cinema, Turin, and the equipment relating to British cinema is now part of the display at Hove Museum. In 1997 they were awarded the Jean Mitry prize by the Pordenone Silent Film Festival in Italy for their distinguished contribution to silent cinema. In 2006 they received honorary doctorates from the University of Stirling. Even after John died in 2008, Bill continued visiting book and photographic fairs and antique markets in London, diligently searching every stall and always finding something of interest. In recent years, his energy unabated, Bill took on John’s writing role, providing many articles for The Magic Lantern Society journal. Bill’s curiosity and pursuit of new knowledge on matters cinematographic never left him, to his dying day. Items from his collection, gathered over many decades, have been selected for this auction.    Stephen Herbert, Dr Frank Gray and Lester Smith.

Foreword- Lot 7 to Lot 12

Following the arrival of Cinemascope in 1953 and Vistavision in 1954, the Technicolor company introduced their own widescreen cinematography process in 1956 with the film "The Monte Carlo Story" under the name Technirama. Combining the key features of Cinemascope and Vistavision, Technirama proved popular for spectacular and high budget subjects until the mid 1960s when it fell into disuse, superseded by Panavision. The Mitchell company had already created additional.

Foreword - Lot 111

John Woolverton (1915-1997)  John was born in New Zealand where his parents had moved for a short-lived scheme of his father's, before returning to England in 1917. They lived in Troutbeck, near Windermere, and he grew up to do railway work as well as examining reconnaissance photographs during the war. After the war he eventually moved to Ilfracombe in the late 1950s where he opened a photography shop selling the usual fare for a seaside resort. He probably started taking and selling photographs at this time, initially for postcards in his shop and gradually expanding through the South West selling to postcard companies such as John Hinde and Dixons. He was a full-time photographer by the time the family moved to the Lake District in 1966. He had gradually expanded his range to cover the whole of the UK and increasingly was selling to magazines (such as The People’s Friend, which particularly liked his Scottish ones), calendars, chocolate boxes and tourist companies, such as Wallace Arnold and Shearings, and greetings card companies, including a few of his stepson in ubiquitous red jumper! From the late 1960s he ceased to shoot postcards and was increasingly concentrating on photographing in Europe, with a few sorties into Egypt – probably driven by the burgeoning tourist market. He moved to Herefordshire in the mid-1990s, from  where he continued to work until his death in 1997. 

Your Auction order

Bill Barnes Collection- Lot 1 to Lot 89

Optical Toys – 1 to 6

Cine Equipment – 7 to 12

Memorabilia – 13 to 29

Spectacles and Viewers – 30 to 57

Photographs – 58 to 89

Various Properties  - Lot 90 to Lot 599

Photographs – 90 to 145

Magic Lanterns and Viewers – 146 to 151

Scientific Instruments – 152 to 182

Mahogany and Brass Cameras – 183 to 271

Cameras – 272 to 353

35mm Cameras – 354 to 379

Nikon Cameras and F Lenses – 380 to 418

Accessories – 419 to 427

Medium Format Cameras – 428 to 468

Medium Format Lenses and Accessories – 469 to 482

Cine and Video Cameras – 483 to 493

Lenses – 494 to 521

Literature and Ephemera – 522 to 543

Large Format – 544 to 546

Leica Copies – 547 to 550

Leica S Cameras and Lenses – 551 to 569

Leica M Cameras – 570 to 581

Leica M Lenses – 582 to 590

Leica Accessories – 591 to 599

Prices Realised

Featured lots







Featured lots







We use cookies to give you the best experience of using this website. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies. Please read our Cookie Policy for more information.