Category Archives: Family photography

A Banker and his Amanuensis

Andrew Hillier draws on the Richard Family Collection in Historical Photographs of China to evoke the moving relationship between Guy Hillier and his young amanuensis, Ella Richard. Andrew’s book, Mediating Empire: An English Family in China, 1817-1927, is published this … Continue reading

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Defend Wuhan!

We spotted this on Ebay, and bought it along with a small group of prints evidently taken in Wuhan during the Sino-Japanese war. They came from an album of prints that was being sold, page by page. A little research … Continue reading

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Ian Gill on photographs and family history

While reading journalist Ian Gill’s articles in the South China Morning Post on his search into the history of his China coast family, we were struck by the place of photographs in that story and invited him to tell us … Continue reading

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The Kodak comes to Peking

Dr Andrew Hillier has been looking at the unpublished letters of a British Student Interpreter, later Consul, Walter Clennell. The correspondence highlights the importance of photography to Legation life in Beijing in the late 1880s. Andrew recently completed his PhD at the University … Continue reading

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Introducing the Ranjit Singh Sangha Collection

This small but evocative new collection was sent to us by Jaskaran Sangha, whose grandfather, Kartar Singh lived in Shanghai from 1920 to 1960, where he worked for the Chinese Maritime Custom Service. The set of 47 photographs includes portraits … Continue reading

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Andrew Hillier reflects on Three Brothers in China: Visualising Family in Empire

Having just completed his PhD at Bristol, ‘Three Brothers in China: A Study of Family in Empire’, Andrew Hillier is now working on developing it  into a book. On 12 May 1846, Eliza Medhurst set off by boat from her family … Continue reading

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The Japanese afterlife of Frank B. Strawn

On this site you can find over 9,000 digitised images, but one key thing lost in this mode of presentation is their existence as physical objects. The social lives of our photographs took many forms: they are given as gifts, … 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

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