Discover the stunning photographs of China in the 1860s and 1870s taken by legendary photographer John Thomson.

Thomson spent four years photographing the regions of China and produced iconic photographs of people and places. Such is the range, depth and aesthetic quality of his work that he is regarded as one of the most influential photographers of his generation.

He captured a wide variety of subjects including landscapes, people, architecture, domestic and street scenes. As a foreigner, Thomson’s ability to gain access to photograph women was particularly remarkable. Whether photographing the rich and famous or people in the streets going about their everyday business, Thomson’s desire was to present a faithful account of the people he encountered. This body of work established him as a pioneer of photojournalism.

Thomson's photographs of China are reproduced on a large, sometimes life-size, scale accompanied by objects collected by Merton and Annie Russell-Cotes on their visit to China a decade later.

Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum

East Cliff Promenade, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH1 3AA

01202 451858

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Opening times

Tue – Sun & Bank Holiday Mons, 10am ​– 5pm Closed Good Friday and 25 Dec

Free entry with National Art Pass

Free exhibitions with National Art Pass

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