Historical photographs of China taken by Europeans in China and drawn from collections in the United Kingdom is going on display, many for the first time, in a major exhibition being held at the National Library of China (NLC) in Beijing from 25th September, 2008, held in conjunction with the British Library.
The British Library holds a unique and valuable collection of historical photographs taken by Europeans in China, documenting the western response to the landscapes, peoples and events in the Chinese Empire during a eventful historical period. A group of photos taken by China's earlier photographer Lai Afang was also showcased, whcih aroused many attentions from Chinese audience. Starting with the Second Opium War of 1860 and culminating with photographs of Beijing in the mid-1920s, these images are of major importance both in the international history of photography and as a documentary record of events over half a century of change and upheaval.
Many of the photographs, which will be displayed as digital facsimiles, are previously unexhibited and are the only surviving record from a period when photography was rare and material scant. These include the work of Felice Beato, who recorded the Anglo-French invasion of 1860, John Thomson who travelled widely in the Chinese Empire in the early 1870s, and the magnificent portrait and costume studies of Milton Miller from the early 1860s. They portray a bygone era, a compelling and evocative picture of a vanishing world, illustrating the land and people of China, as well as the former topography and architecture of such great cities as Beijing.
In addition to photographs from the British Library's own collections, the exhibition will feature a selection of rare material from other major British archives and private collections, including the Royal Asiatic Society.
Tel: Mrs Xue Wenhui +86 10-88545164 (Beijing, China) or +44 20 7412 7882 (London, UK)
Exhibition Address: National Library of China, Jigu Gallery (north building), 33 Zhongguancun nandajie, Haidian, Beijing, China