Author Archives: Robert Bickers

What’s a photograph for?

This photograph appeared in a 1911 issue of the monthly magazine Social Shanghai, and shows the Bund-side Public Gardens crowded with Chinese visitors. The date is that of the coronation of King George V, and the original caption reads: A Memorable … Continue reading

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Books!

The photographs posted to our site — 9,151 now, and rising — have often found their way into publications, and in this post we’ll introduce a handful of them. Joshua Fogel, Canada Research Chair and Professor of History at York … Continue reading

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M is for Ming!

‘Ming: 50 years that changed China’, the British Museum’s autumn exhibition opens today. Photographs in Historical Photographs of China of surviving artefacts from the 1368-1644 Ming dynasty include tourist silliness like this early 1900s shot of a visitor posing with one of … Continue reading

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Hong Kong in the early 1920s

We have just gone live with a collection of 82 photographs taken or acquired by Francis Alexander (Frank) Davidson, who arrived in Hong Kong in the autumn of 1921, fresh from vet school in Edinburgh, and who worked as veterinary surgeon … Continue reading

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Who took the photographs? 2

A good source of contemporary photographs of Shanghai and its doings between 1906 and 1914, is the journal Social Shanghai; and other parts of China, edited by Mina Shorrock. In volume 3 there is an article about the Shanghai photographic … Continue reading

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Dancing in Peking on St Patrick’s day

The blog plays catch-up, as it is Oxford University’s Professor of Art History, Craig Clunas, who spotted that we have a St Patrick’s day photograph (Ph04-092), and has tweeted it via his ever-interesting twitter-feed @CraigClunas. This is a spring picnic — … Continue reading

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Still feverish

A recent trip to Shanghai reminds me how popular the rediscovery of historic photographs of China remains. Here in one shop on Fuzhou lu, Shanghai’s bookstore street, is a good stash of Lao Zhaopian magazine, which sparked off the ‘Lao … Continue reading

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Lucky Eights: 8888 photographs now online

The project just posted its 8,888th photograph. 8 is an auspicious number in Chinese culture because of its closeness in sound to the word for wealth/fortune across a number of dialects. Companies compete for telephone numbers with multiple eights, and … Continue reading

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Peking Picnics

A figure who looms large in Sino-British diplomatic relations in the late 1920s — literally because he was well over six foot tall, and hefty with it — was Sir Miles Wedderburn Lampson, later 1st Baron Killearn. Uncle Miles is … Continue reading

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Who took the photographs?

Our collections are generally identified with a single individual, in most cases the woman or man who lived and worked in China, and who provides the current owner’s family link to China. In some cases we can certainly state with … Continue reading

Posted in Family photography, History of photography in China, Photographers | 2 Comments