Frith's large Palestine photos sell for £330,000

A copy of the largest book of vast and panoramic photographs of travels through the Middle East ever published was sold at auction on Monday for over £330,000.

The work, which is more than 150 years old, is a compilation of 20 prints captured by 19th century photographer Francis Frith on his travels through Palestine, Egypt and Syria. The photographs in the unique book are enlarged and measure 77 centimetres by 55 (30 inches by 21) - around the size of a broadsheet newspaper.

The pioneering Victorian photographer, whose work was recently displayed on the BBC series "Britain's First Photo Album", visited the Middle East in the 1850s in order to produce images that he said were "far beyond anything that is in the power of the most accomplished artist to transfer to his canvas."

His dedication was such that he carried around dangerous chemicals with him so that he could create pictures using his favoured method, the wet collodion process, which resulted in higher quality images.

The piece was originally estimated at £50,000 - £70,000, but it seems that Frith's picturesque shots of Jerusalem, Sinai and the Egyptian pyramids, as well as the unique nature of the collection, convinced bidders of its higher value.

Last updated: 5:10pm, June 13 2012