John Thomson photographs to be displayed in Beijing

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A selection of digitised negatives by John Thomson will be displayed at the Beijing World Art Museum in 2009. BBC China highlighted this exhibition recently, including audio commentary and image galleries.

The Wellcome Library has recently completed digitising the 650 glass negatives. They were taken by Thomson during his travels in the Far East in the 1860s and 70s. Thomson captured these rare scenes using the collodion process, a very early photographic technique. This collection was purchased by Henry Wellcome in 1921, and the Library also holds a number of prints which can be viewed on request.

The negatives have undergone extensive conservation treatment. During 2008, they were scanned using a high-end flatbed scanner in order to capture the depth of detail present on the negatives, and to enable large-format printing. A technical report on the digitisation project is publically available.

Christy Henshaw

Christy Henshaw

Christy Henshaw manages digitisation at the Wellcome Library. @Chenshaw. Linkedin

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