British photographic history

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Website: Historical Photographs of China relaunched

The redesigned Historical Photographs of China web site ( has been re-launched and now contains over 10,500 images, including 1,400 recently added images from nine new collections.

 These including a large and diverse selection of photographs from Shanghai-based news photographer Malcolm Rosholt, the family photographs of Sikh life and work in Shanghai in the Ranjit Singh Sangha collection, and some of Felice Beato's photographs of the bloody 1860 North China Campaign. Mao Zedong, Rabindranath Tagore, the Tenth Panchen Lama, General Sir Robert Napier, Father Jacquinot, and sometime North China Daily News editor R.W. Little join the cast of personalities. The new images range from 1860 (with some earlier ones on their way soon), to 1949 (with some later ones on their way in the not too distant future).

On the relaunched HPC web site, we have tried to enhance discoverability and alleviate dependency on keyword searching, by offering several ways to find images, such as a 'Lucky dip' (random sampling of images), via collection names, via names of photographers and via some themed collections ('Featured Collections'), as well as an advanced keyword search facility.

Another new feature is a 'Related Photographs' link to other photographs linked in some way to the one displayed. We cannot say that coverage through this is comprehensive, but we are linking photographs where we can (where, for example, they might be split across albums, media (negatives and prints for example), or even collections.

Do please tell us what you think -- and we are always interested to hear how you use the site.  We'd be very happy too for notification of factual/name/location/date errors, typos, glaring omissions, etc.

 Developing the platform has been supported by awards from the British Academy, the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation, and Swire Trust, and with vital support from the University of Bristol's IT Services.

 Professor Robert Bickers (HPC Project Director), Jamie Carstairs (HPC Project Manager).​ Email:

Image: Small Pagoda / Ba06-103. © 2008 Peter Lockhart Smith / HPC

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