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Photograph

Photograph

  • Place of origin:

    China (photographed)

  • Date:

    1860 (photographed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Beato, Felice (photographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Albumen print from wet collodion on glass negative

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased from Mrs N.E. Warner, 1904

  • Museum number:

    PH.962-1904

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case X, shelf 828

The Italian-born Felice Beato had taken photographs during the 1850s of conflicts in the Crimea and India before arriving in China in March 1860 during the Second Opium War. Accompanying the Anglo-French expeditionary force, which went on to seize Beijing and force the Chinese Empire to accede to sweeping political and economic demands, Beato’s views, combining topographical and military information, provided a visual record of the Imperial campaign. They were often included in ‘progress’ reports sent from Hong Kong to the commanding officer of the British army.

As professional photographer, Beato sold his images of China to British officers as unmounted prints with his stock number, title, and date written in pencil on the verso of each print. By assembling a selection of images, the purchaser could construct a personal visual record. As early as 1861, illustrations of the prints also appeared in contemporary journals such as The Illustrated London News and published memoirs. By 1862, the commercial portrait photographer Henry Hering offered them for sale by subscription. It is thought that this view is a 'Hering' copy.

Physical description

A sepia-coloured photograph mounted onto green card with description in ink.

Place of Origin

China (photographed)

Date

1860 (photographed)

Artist/maker

Beato, Felice (photographer)

Materials and Techniques

Albumen print from wet collodion on glass negative

Dimensions

Length: 30 cm image, Height: 22 cm image, Height: 30.5 cm mount, Length: 40 cm mount

Object history note

This is a photograph taken during the Second Opium War by Felice Beato and purchased as part of a group of 56 from Mrs N.E. Warner for the Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum. The group of views was sold to the Museum unmounted and they were subsequently mounted and labeled by the V&A. Some of the views duplicate those that are included in a bound album of similar views by Beato. It is thought that these views were part of a subscription set that was produced from Beato's originals and exhibited and sold by the London-based commercial portrait photographer Henry Hering beginning in 1862.

Descriptive line

19thC, China War of 1860; Beato, A Pagoda & Shrines, China

Categories

Photographs; Topography

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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