Feature October 2012

The New Hall Vault Sale

It is not unusual for a collection of Baxter Process prints to find its way into a saleroom, but a sale at Christie's South Kensington in 1987 was certainly a one off that will not be repeated.

The sale of the New Hall Vault Kronheim prints from the collection of the late Ernest Owen had over 1000 lots containing over 100,000 prints.

A Sheet of Kronheim Prints sold at the New Hall Vault Sale in 1987
Kronheim Print of a Dancer from the New Hall Vault Sale that has been framed
Kronheim Print from the New Hall Vault Sale that has been framed

Most of these prints were still on uncut sheets, just as they would have been about 150 years ago when the printing process was complete, with up to sixteen prints on a sheet.

There were 34 different varieties of uncut sheet. The most common one being a sheet of 6 Shakespearean figural scenes.

Alfred Ernest Owen (1869-1929), an engineer, was a keen collector of Baxter prints who acquired this collection of Kronheim prints in 1922. He also brought together one of the first complete collections of Baxter prints and was elected President of the second Baxter Society in 1926.

These uncut Kronheim sheets were said to be kept at the family home, New Hall in Sutton Coldfield which has been sold and converted into a hotel.

Today these decorative prints can often be found at antique fairs and in the salerooms.

Because they were kept well away from the light for many years most have kept their colours well and are excellent examples of the Baxter Process prints produced by Kronheim & Co. who were one of the few licensees of George Baxter's process.