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Exhibition: Through the Lens of John Thomson: Hong Kong and Coastal China, 1868-1872

Through the Lens of John Thomson: Hong Kong and Coastal China, 1868-1872, is a photography exhibition running until 16 February 2014 at the Hong Kong Maritime Museum - at Central Ferry Pier No 8.

Born in Edinburgh in 1837, the Scotsman trained as a lensmaker at the age of 14. And then, like many youngsters of his time, Thomson headed east to explore and broaden his horizons. In 1868, after he had visited Singapore and Malaya, Thomson decided to go to Hong Kong and coastal China.

During his four-year stay in China, Thomson traveled to places such as Tianjin, Beijing, Fujian and Guangzhou, as well as Hong Kong.

When he first arrived in town, he immediately set up a studio on Queen's Road and it did not take him long to establish a good reputation. He was soon invited to take photographs of the commemorative book created for the first visit of Prince Albert, the Duke of Edinburgh and second son of Queen Victoria.

In 1872, Thomson headed back home to London, bringing with him 600 glass plates created during his stay. It is these plates, held by London's Wellcome Collection, which form the basis of the exhibition. 

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