Saturday, February 6, 2010

China through Victorian eyes (article / exhib)

China Through the Lens of John Thomson, 1868-72, Merseyside Maritime Museum, Liverpool (, tomorrow to June 6


Hels said...

It is interesting that in all my years at uni doing history and art history, there was not much interest in China, although that may have changed in the last 40 years.

John Thomson was certainly there at the right time (1868-72) if he wanted to capture images of Imperial China as it disappeared.
So it doesn't bother me at all that his landscapes and portraits were viewed through the eyes of a European observer. But we need to ask if the Chinese felt they were correctly presented.

"His work appears to be untouched by 19th-century Western prejudice towards China." I wonder if this is ever possible - all artists carry their assumptions and prejudices with them.

Hermes said...

Thanks, I was interested that his photographs seem much more 'natural' than say the posed ones from India about this time. I doubt if we will everknow what the Chinese thought about it all, I don't think anyone much bothered to ask them. The Boxers might have had a thought or two of course!