Detail View: ECA Rare Books: Photograph Album “China”, f.6r, detail

Work Record ID: 
0066567
Licence: 
Shelfmark: 
RECA.MS.8
Holding Institution: 
University of Edinburgh
Catalogue Number: 
N/A
Title: 
Photograph Album “China”
Subset Index: 
f.6r, detail
Creator: 
Elgin, Lord
Creator: 
Beato, Felice
Creator: 
Miller, M.
Date: 
1858-1864
Description: 
The album is large, measuring 69 cm, in a fairly elaborate embossed and gilt-tooled leather binding, with ‘China’ tooled in gilt on the front; it contains 59 mounted images on 56 leaves; at least thirteen leaves are missing. The subject matter includes: studio portraits of Chinese people; images of China recording Lord Elgin’s military campaign of 1860 in the Second Opium War; views of Hong Kong, Shanghai, Macao, including a number of multi-plate panoramas, one of them hand-tinted. The photographs are captioned, neatly, by hand, on the album leaves. The pictures of Lord Elgin’s campaign are accurately dated, August – October 1860, but of the rest only one is dated (Fol. 10 “Consular Church, Canton”, 1863). Very few are in any way signed: those which are have ‘S. Dutton’ or ‘Dutton and Michaels’ written on the negatives, often in such a way that it is not particularly obvious on the print. However, many of the photographs can be attributed from external sources: those of Elgin’s campaign are the work of Felice Beato, who travelled with the army, probably on a semi-official basis, and who was given access to the sites of battles immediately afterwards. Most of the portraits of Chinese people are the work of “Mr. M. Miller”, who ran a photographic studio in Hong Kong between 1861 and 1864. He may also be responsible for some of the landscape views, particularly the multi-plate panoramas. However, he was taught this technique by Beato himself, and C. Worswick observes that the two photographers’ images of this type are often indistinguishable. Beato worked with an artist, Charles Wirgman, in Japan between 1864 and 1867, to produce very high quality tinted versions of his prints. On the basis of the presence of a combination of Beato and Miller’s work it can be concluded that the album probably dates from the mid-1860s. Some of the photographs are probably the work of others, notably the image on fols. 1 and 2, of “Governor Yeh”, who was captured by the British in 1858, and died in captivity in India in 1859, and is thus unlikely to have come into contact with either Beato or Miller. Photographs of this sort were typically bought by members of the army or foreign service, to take or send home as mementos of their service, and seem generally to have been mounted into albums only when they got home. The majority of the albums are much smaller than the Edinburgh College of Art example: the only other album found which is of similar size is held by the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, and is believed to be a presentation copy to Lord Elgin, having been sold by his descendants in 1974.
Production Place: 
China
Subject Place: 
China
Subject Category: 
Travel
Subject Category: 
Military
Related Work Title: 
Photograph Album “China”
Related Work Page No: 
f.6r, detail
Rights Statement: 
Out of Copyright.
Repro File Type: 
Cropped TIFF
Repro Title: 
Photograph Album “China”, f.6r, detail
Repro Rights Statement: 
Copyright The University of Edinburgh.
Repro Publication Status: 
Full Public Access
ObjectName: 
Title: Photograph Album ?China?; Author: Elgin, Lord; Beato, Felice; Miller, M.; Page No: f.6r, detail; Shelfmark: RECA.MS.8; Date: 1858-1864
Caption: 
Collection: ECA Rare Books; Persons: ; Event: N/A; Place: China; Category: Travel; Military; Description: The album is large, measuring 69 cm, in a fairly elaborate embossed and gilt-tooled leather binding, with ?China? tooled in gilt on the front; it contains 59 mounted images on 56 leaves; at least thirteen leaves are missing. The subject matter includes: studio portraits of Chinese people; images of China recording Lord Elgin?s military campaign of 1860 in the Second Opium War; views of Hong Kong, Shanghai, Macao, including a number of multi-plate panoramas, one of them hand-tinted. The photographs are captioned, neatly, by hand, on the album leaves. The pictures of Lord Elgin?s campaign are accurately dated, August ? October 1860, but of the rest only one is dated (Fol. 10 ?Consular Church, Canton?, 1863). Very few are in any way signed: those which are have ?S. Dutton? or ?Dutton and Michaels? written on the negatives, often in such a way that it is not particularly obvious on the print. However, many of the photographs can be attributed from external sources: those of Elgin?s campaign are the work of Felice Beato, who travelled with the army, probably on a semi-official basis, and who was given access to the sites of battles immediately afterwards. Most of the portraits of Chinese people are the work of ?Mr. M. Miller?, who ran a photographic studio in Hong Kong between 1861 and 1864. He may also be responsible for some of the landscape views, particularly the multi-plate panoramas. However, he was taught this technique by Beato himself, and C. Worswick observes that the two photographers? images of this type are often indistinguishable. Beato worked with an artist, Charles Wirgman, in Japan between 1864 and 1867, to produce very high quality tinted versions of his prints. On the basis of the presence of a combination of Beato and Miller?s work it can be concluded that the album probably dates from the mid-1860s. Some of the photographs are probably the work of others, notably the image on fols. 1 and 2, of ?Governor Yeh?, who was captured by the British in 1858, and died in captivity in India in 1859, and is thus unlikely to have come into contact with either Beato or Miller. Photographs of this sort were typically bought by members of the army or foreign service, to take or send home as mementos of their service, and seem generally to have been mounted into albums only when they got home. The majority of the albums are much smaller than the Edinburgh College of Art example: the only other album found which is of similar size is held by the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, and is believed to be a presentation copy to Lord Elgin, having been sold by his descendants in 1974.
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DateCreated: 
2016-11-02
0x0038: 
150809
Headline: 
0066567
RecordVersion: 
4
TimeCreated: 
15:08:09+00:00
Copyright: 
Digital Image: Copyright The University of Edinburgh. Original: Out of Copyright.
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