This collection of approximately 5,500 photographs has been compiled by a collector with a deep knowledge of Chinese photography, to vividly depict events and experiences of individuals across a wide spectrum of society in late Qing-Dynasty China. The range of the collection’s geographical coverage also surpasses that of other known collections of early Chinese photography.
The subject of the history of photography in China, which is increasingly attracting attention and research, is very well represented here, from seminal works by Itier, Thomson, Rossier, Tung Hing, and the Afong Studio as well as other important names of nineteenth-century Chinese photography, to works by lesser-researched Chinese studios and unidentified and amateur photographers. Some of these provide fascinating views of historical events such as the Boxer Rebellion and offer insights missed by those photographers more constrained by commercial imperatives.
The Western traveller exploring nineteenth-century China is well represented here, including among others by George Morrison and Byron Prideaux. Many albums retain important historical provenance or associations with prominent figures of the period, such as the Mercer album of John Thomson photographs. Other photographs emphasize portraits of famous Westerners and Chinese of the day.
The collection includes daguerreotypes from Jules Itier's 1844 visit; some 45 albums; over 200 stereos, including the first commercial views of the country; approximately 250 cartes de visite and cabinet cards from nearly all of the early China-based studios; around 200 glass lantern slides, including a collection previously owned by John Claude White; many individual photographs of portraits and scenes, including many multi-plate panoramas.
John Thomson; Lai Afong (Afong studio); William Saunders; Charles Weed; Tung Hing; Jules Itier; Yamamoto Sanshichiro; Milton Miller; Kung Tai; Mee Cheung; Sylvestor Dutton; Lorenzo Fisler; St. Julien H. Edwards; Paul Champion; Pierre Rossier; Wilhelm Burger; Paul-Emile Berranger; D.K. Griffith; Louis Legrand; Dupin/Fauchery; George Rose; D.R. Clark; George de Saint-Priest; Shang Wo; Sze-Yuen-Ming; Ueno Hikoma; Wing-Chong; Seng Yuen; Chow Kwa;Yee Cheong ;Dinmore Bros;Ye-Chung ;Tin-Sing; F.Schoenke; Pun-Lun; On-Qua; Hing-Qua John & Co; etc.
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