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Buffalo Bill Cody Scotland photos up for auction

Buffalo Bill poses outside his tent in Scotland. Picture: Contributed

Buffalo Bill poses outside his tent in Scotland. Picture: Contributed

  • by FRANK URQUHART
 

REMARKABLE photographs of Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show, taken during its legendary tour of Scotland a century ago, are going under the hammer in America as part of a sale of rare family photographs owned by the great granddaughter of the famous showman.

They include pictures of Buffalo Bill and his Indians and Rough Riders taken during their visit to Dundee in 1904.

And at least one of the photographs is credited to a local photographer, SW Pritchard of Lochee - a full-length portrait of Cody outside a Wild West Show tent during his only visit to the city between 18 and 20 August, 1904

The Wild West legend and his show made two visits to Scotland - taking up a highly successful three month residency at a Glasgow showground in 1892, followed by a Scottish wide tour in 1904 when they travelled by train to 29 towns and cities across Scotland.

The show is said to have been witnessed by over half a million people - more than one of ten of the population at that time.

The photographs, taken during the tour of Scotland, are going under the hammer at the auction house of Cowans in Ohio on 31 January.

They form part of a collection of over 200 personal Cody family photographs, documenting the great showman’s life, being sold by Patsy Garlow, his great grand daughter. They include rare family albums, and individual photos of Cody’s career with his Wild West shows.

The Garlow Collection said to be the largest privately held collection of Buffalo Bill photographs in existence, outside the collection of the Buffalo Bill Historical Centre in Cody, Wyoming.

The Scottish lots include black and white photographs of Buffalo Bill standing in front of his giant tent when his show was at Dundee’s Esplanade Extension.

Matt Chapman, a specialist in the American history department at the auction house, said: “Buffalo Bill’s 1904 tour was really something. He brought a huge show with him to Scotland, 200 horses and 100 Indians. They even had their own train to move them, around the country.

“The show itself was a re-enactment of the legend of the wild west They’d have an attack on a stagecoach, a buffalo hunt. The Indians would attack a female and Buffalo Bill would rescue her.”

He explained that, while only one of the images has been credited to Dundee photographer, as many as seven of the images may have been taken during the show’s visit to Dundee. Said Mr Chapman: “Only one image has the imprint of the Dundee photographer but I believe that, given the similarities, they are probably all taken in Dundee or nearby. We’re expecting a lot of interest.”

Each photograph has an estimated price of between $600 to $800.

A spokesman for Cowans said: “The majority of the items in the auction descended directly in the family of Irma Louise Cody Garlow (1884-1918), William Cody’s daughter. Irma married Frederick Harrison Garlow, Sr. and had three children: Frederick Harrison Garlow, Jr., William Joseph Garlow, and Jane Cody Garlow Hallehan-Keane.

“When their parents died two days apart in the influenza pandemic of 1918, their grandmother, Louisa Cody, raised the three children. Fred Garlow, Jr. married Margaret Sutherland and they had two children; Patricia Ann Garlow (b. 1948) and Mark Frederick Garlow (b. 1952). Most of these items were in the possession of Patricia Garlow’s family, Buffalo Bills’ direct great granddaughter. From the 1960s to the late 1990s, the items in the collection were on loan to the Buffalo Bill Historical Centre in Cody, Wyoming.”

He continued: “One of the featured items in the sale is a Cody Family Photograph Album, including personal and professional portraits, Wild West Shows and Western Scenery (est. $8,000/10,000). The album contains 301 images.

“Other exceptional photographs in the auction include three large format photographs by Grabill of Indian Chiefs and U.S. Officials, including William F. Cody at Wounded Knee. These three photographs are expected to bring $1,000/1,500 each at auction.”

He continued: “Many of the images in the sale demonstrate how popular and well-travelled Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show really was. A photograph of the Wild West Show in Naples, Italy, pictured at the foot of Mount Vesuvius is estimated to bring $1,500/2,500, a large format portrait of Buffalo Bill Cody in Bath, England, by Walter G. Lewis is expected to sell for $1,000/1,500, an image of Buffalo Bill Cody meeting the Shah of Persia at a performance in Vichy, France in 1905 is estimated at $800/1,200, and an Exceptional Series of Four Photographs of Buffalo Bill and Wild West Show Indians overlooking the Pacific Ocean from the Cliff house in San Francisco is estimated at $2,500/3,500.”

William G “Buffalo Bill” Cody was a soldier, Western scout and buffalo hunter before he founded “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show” in North Platte, Nebraska in 1883. His Wild West shows toured North America and Europe for decades until his death in 1917.

 

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