All things old China - books, anecdotes, stories, podcasts, factoids & ramblings from the author Paul French

Chiang Yee and His Circle, in Chinese

Posted: December 3rd, 2023 | No Comments »

Lovely to see the Chinese edition of Chiang Yee and His Circle: Chinese Artistic & Intellectual Life in Britain, 1930-1950 (Hong Kong University Press) with me & Anne Witchard, Craig Clunas, Paul Bevan, Tessa Thornily, Sarah Cheang, Ke Ren, Diana Yeh and Frances Wood – available now on all PRC platforms…

Early Republican Revenue Stamp

Posted: December 2nd, 2023 | No Comments »

Revenue stamp for cigarette tax, Chinese National Wine and Tobacco Bureau (c.1912)

My Review of Covert Colonialism in the Mekong Review (issue #33)

Posted: December 2nd, 2023 | No Comments »

In issue #33 of the Mekong Review, the November-January 2023/2024 edition, I review Florence Mok’s Covert Colonialism: Governance, Surveillance and Political Culture in British Hong Kong, c. 1966-97.

J Sligh, Tailors of Old Peking

Posted: December 1st, 2023 | No Comments »

J Sligh & Co, Peking tailors, Morrison Street (Wangfujing). I believe they also had a branch in the old Grand Hotel de Wagons Lits in the Legation Quarter.

Scottish Company of the SVC Cap Badge

Posted: December 1st, 2023 | No Comments »

Shanghai Scottish Company (aka The Highland Company) of the Shanghai Volunteer Corps glengarry cap badge circa 1914. central thistle superimposed on saltire

Gloria Grahame Centenary – Remembering Margie in Macao

Posted: November 30th, 2023 | No Comments »

Gloria Grahame’s centenary this week – of course she was fantastic in The Bad & the Beautiful, In a Lonely Place, The Big Heat, but I always think of her as croupier and gangster’s moll Margie in 1952’s Josef von Sternberg/Nick Ray movie Macao (with Robert Mitchum & Jane Russell)

Paintings in the Shanghai Museum Special Edition, 1965

Posted: November 30th, 2023 | No Comments »

‘Paintings in the Shanghai Museum’, Tai Yip, Shanghai People’s Fine Art Publishing House, 1965, 1 of 1,000 copies only. A fully illustrated study of paintings in the Shanghai Museum

Japan on a Glass Plate: The Adventure of Photography in Yokohama and Beyond, 1853–1912

Posted: November 29th, 2023 | No Comments »

Not China, but focused on the treaty port of Yokohama, which is interesting for comparison with Shanghai, Tientsin and the other China treaty ports. Sebastian Dobson’s Japan on a Glass Plate: The Adventure of Photography in Yokohama and Beyond, 1853–1912 (Luidon).

Drawing from an extensive private collection assembled over many years, this book presents a unique selection of nineteenth-century photographs of Japan, many of which are published here for the first time.

Between the twilight years of the Tokugawa shogunate (1603–1867) and the end of the Meiji Era (1868–1912) that followed it, photography offered a unique insight into the rapid transformation of Japan from an isolated, feudal society to a modern, industrialised state. In the four decades that followed the opening of the country in 1853, the camera evolved from an imported novelty to a familiar witness of Japanese daily life.

Operating from the Treaty Ports of Yokohama and elsewhere, early practitioners of photography plied an often precarious trade in images of Japan and laid the foundations of what would soon become a highly competitive industry with a global reach. Whether cherished as souvenirs of an exotic land of fond imagination or curated as visual documents of a fast-changing society, these images by foreign and Japanese photographers, often packaged in exquisitely produced albums, enjoyed a wide circulation abroad and played an important role in influencing perceptions of Japan in the West well into the early twentieth century.