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Peking, Pechili province, China. Photograph by John Thomson, 1869.
Wet collodion negatives
Three men, two older with beards, one younger with a moustache, sitting in a garden. A building behind them to the left, a rockery to the right. The men are three Chinese Ministers at the Office of Foreign Affairs in the late Qing: (left to right) Shen Guifeng, Dong Xun and Mao Changxi. A native of Jiangsu, Shen Guifeng (1818-1881) was best known for his anti-opium policy and for his contributions to the state-run modernizing movement – the 'yangwu movement'. In this portrait, Thomson intended to show that Chinese officials did not spend their time in idleness and luxury; rather, they led laborious lives and dressed in simple robes. But more importantly, for him these three individuals 'were as fine-looking men as ever our own Cabinet can boast. All of them had an air of quiet, dignified repose'
This is one of a collection of original glass negatives made by John Thomson. The negatives, made between 1868 and 1872, were purchased from Thomson by Sir Henry Wellcome in 1921
Wellcome Library no. 19636i