Picturing China 1870-1950: Photographs from British Collections

by Robert Bickers, Catherine Ladds, Jamie Carstairs, Yee Wah Foo

Chinese Maritime Customs Project Occasional Papers No.1 ISSN 1755–6643

Between the 1840s and 1950s tens of thousands of Britons lived in or visited China, and they brought or sent back photographs that they had taken, commissioned, or purchased. In the twentieth century growing numbers of Chinese visited or moved to the British Isles, bringing their possessions with them. Picturing China 1870–1950 provides an introduction to some collections of these images, mostly still held by families with past China connections, and it reproduces some of the treasures of this virtual archive. Published in conjunction with an exhibition of the materials, and a new online resource, the volume contains introductions to the ‘Historical Photographs of China’ project, which is concerned with these collections, and to some of the main bodies of material that have been located. Britain’s historical relationship with China has not always been a fundamentally equal one, but these images suggest just how intimate it has long been.


1 ‘Picturing China’, Robert Bickers

2 ‘The World of the Chinese Maritime Customs’, Catherine Ladds

3 ‘Recording the Infrastructure of the Chinese Treaty Ports: The Photographs of G. Warren Swire’, Robert Bickers

4 ‘A Sentimental Policeman: William Armstrong’, Robert Bickers

5 ‘Picturing China’ – 32 photographs

6 ‘A Chinese Photographer: Foo Pingsheung (Fu Bingchang)’, Yee Wah Foo

7 ‘A Photographer’s View’, Jamie Carstairs

8 ‘Technical Note’

This publication is now out of print.