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Picturing China 1870-1950: Photographs from British collections

The British Embassy in Beijing recently held an exhibition at the JW Marriott Hotel in Beijing presenting China as seen through camera lenses dating as far back as 1870. This is the first time this exhibition has been displayed in China.

‘Picturing China 1870-1950: Photographs from British Collections’ presents a wealth of images of a country undergoing rapid change in its society, culture and heritage as well as providing snapshots of expatriate life at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. These images are part of a unique collection gathered from private collections of photographs taken, commissioned or purchased by the tens of thousands of Britons who lived in or visited China from the 1870s until the 1950s.

The images on display come from the ‘Historical Photographs of China’ project at the University of Bristol, which is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council through the British Inter-university China Centre, and the British Academy.

Photo: John Oswald in the tea tasting room at Oswald & Co., Foochow (Fuzhou), c.1890. Unknown photographer. © SOAS

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