Davison Art Center, Wesleyan University

DAC Collection Artist Information

John Thomson

Scottish photographer and author, active in East and Southeast Asia and London

Brief biography, in most instances from the Union List of Artist Names® Online:
John Thomson began experimenting with microphotography in the late 1850s. From 1862 to 1872, he travelled to East and Southeast Asia where he photographed the Malaysia peninsula, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Singapore and China, and set up studios in both Singapore and Hong Kong. In 1867 he published a book of mounted albumen prints of Cambodian antiquities. Thomson arrived in China in 1868 and met Felice Beato. Thomson returned to London permanently in 1872 and published a book on his ten years of travel in Malacca (Malaysia), Indochina and China. In 1874, Thomson published an ambitious 4-volume book on his travels in China entitled "Illustrations of China and its People". From 1876 to 1878, Thomson worked on "Street Life in London" producing photographs for a serial illustrating the life and occupations of London's poor. It was the first photoreport that attempted to bring about social change. In 1879, Thomson produced a book illustrated with photographs taken on a three month trip to Cyprus. In the 1880s Thomson became a portraitist in Mayfair, London and one year later became the official photographer of Queen Victoria. In 1910, he was the official photographer to King George V.

Artist ID number in the Union List of Artist Names®: ULAN 500022641.
The ULAN link above leads to a cataloging authority record at the Getty Research Institute.

Objects related to John Thomson:

John Thomson Caney, the Clown, 1877-1888 Woodburytype
http://dac-collection.wesleyan.edu/art37762 is a persistent link to this page with no user-session information.

ULAN biographical content is displayed with permission of the Getty Research Institute. Some ULAN content in some DAC artist records has been lightly edited. Content from the Getty Research Institute is © 2019 The J. Paul Getty Trust. All rights reserved.

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