The Cavalry camps at 'Odin Bay' - 'Talien Whan'

Photograph
26 June - 21 July 1860 (photographed)
The Cavalry camps at 'Odin Bay' - 'Talien Whan' thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Having established his reputation as a professional photographer documenting military conflicts in the Crimea and India during the 1850s, Italian-born Felice Beato arrived in China in March 1860 during the final months of 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.

Beato also 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. Surviving albums such as this one have differing numbers of prints, and are a reflection of the owner's personal military career. But even before the ‘narrative’ was constructed by the purchaser, Beato himself controlled the story, determining what was considered worthy of recording and eliminating any conflicting viewpoints. These views were absorbed by the public as part of a larger visual memory documenting England’s rise as an Imperial power.


object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Albumen print from wet collodion on glass negative
Brief Description
Photograph by Felice Beato from the album Views in China, "The Cavalry camps at 'Odin Bay' - 'Talien Whan'", albumen print, 1860
Physical Description
A sepia-coloured panoramic photograph in four parts showing a harbor view with boats, a tent settlement in the foreground and mountains in the distance, mounted into a bound album of 53 individual pages with dark green half-leather and green marble boards. There is a gilt red leather label on cover reading VIEWS IN CHINA within a decorative frame. There are marbled endpapers.
Dimensions
  • Album height: 16in
  • Album length: 18in
  • Album width: 1.25in
  • Image height: 21.2cm
  • Image width: 113.7cm
Marks and Inscriptions
'No. 3' (Penicl, lower right mount, believed to be Beato's original stock number.)
Credit line
Purchased from Mrs. Doris Hansford, 1975
Object history
This album of photographs was acquired in 1975 from Doris Hansford, the wife of Professor Professor S.(Sidney) Howard Hansford. He was a student in China during the 1930s when he recorded some ‘home movies’ in Beijing. He later became a Professor of Asian art at University of London.
Subjects depicted
Place Depicted
Summary
Having established his reputation as a professional photographer documenting military conflicts in the Crimea and India during the 1850s, Italian-born Felice Beato arrived in China in March 1860 during the final months of 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.



Beato also 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. Surviving albums such as this one have differing numbers of prints, and are a reflection of the owner's personal military career. But even before the ‘narrative’ was constructed by the purchaser, Beato himself controlled the story, determining what was considered worthy of recording and eliminating any conflicting viewpoints. These views were absorbed by the public as part of a larger visual memory documenting England’s rise as an Imperial power.

Bibliographic References
  • Harris, David. Of Battle and Beauty: Felice Beato's Photographs of China. Santa Barbara, CA: Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1999
  • Crombie, Isobel. "China, 1860: A Photograpic Album by Felice Beato." History of Photography 11, no. 1 (1987): 25-37.
Collection
Accession Number
135-1975

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record createdJuly 1, 2009
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