THE MOST COMPLETE PHOTOGRAHIC REPORT OF CHINA OF THE NINETEENTH CENTury
THOMSON, John. Illustrations of China and its People. A Series of two Hundred Photographs, with letterpress descriptive of the places and people represented. London, Sampson Low & c, 1873–1874. £45,000
4 vols in folio, 222 photographic illustrations (collotype prints) on 96 plates, each protected by tissue gards and accompanied by one or more leaves of text; occasional foxing, not affecting plates, nevertheless a very good set, bound in the original pictorial cloth, gilt, sympathetically rebacked.
A beautiful set of the first edition (Vol. 1 in second edition) of Thomson’s ‘most ambitious and best-known book’, one of the most spectacular and beautifully illustrated photobooks on China published in the nineteenth century.
John Thomson (1837–1921) moved to Hong Kong in 1868 and spent much of the following four years travelling through China, writing notes about his voyages and taking photographs of everything he saw, from landscapes and architecture, to government officials and ordinary people. The results were published in Illustrations of China and its People, issued upon his return to England in 1872. Illustrated with over two hundreds photographs, and accompanied by Thomson’s detailed and entertaining commentaries, the book represents the most complete photographic and ethnographic report on China made during the nineteenth century.