Memories of a mountain man

A fascinating collection of annotated photographs detailing the exploits of mountaineer and school master R. L. G. Irving (1877-1969) are coming under the hammer in Tennants Auctioneers’ Book Sale on 29th November.

Passionate mountaineer Robert Lock Graham Irving was a master at Winchester College, where in addition to teaching French and Mathematics he founded the Winchester Ice Club. Here he inspired his pupils to follow in his footsteps, although was condemned for taking boys on expeditions up dangerous mountains.  

One of the early members of the Winchester Ice Club was none other than George Mallory (1886-1924), who disappeared on an attempt to be the first to ascend Everest in 1924. His body was found by a search party in 1999 on the North-East Ridge of the mountain; there is much speculation to this day whether he and his climbing partner Andrew Irvine actually managed to reach the summit before tragedy struck. A photograph of Mallory on Torven Ridge in 1906 is included in the albums up for sale.

Irving, too, authored several books on mountaineering and mountaineering history, and his own albums detailing expeditions in the UK and Europe between 1898-1906 and 1926-1931 add valuable insight into the life and exploits of this passionate mountaineer. The albums are being offered with an estimate of £800-1,200.

A fully illustrated catalogue for the Books, Maps & Ephemera Sale will be available on Tennants’ website, leading up to the sale, alternatively, please contact the salerooms for further details.

Illustrated: George Mallory on Torven Ridge: Photograph from a lot comprising photographs and diary of mountaineer R.L.G. Irving – Estimate £800-1,200 plus buyer’s premium