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SNAPSHOTS OF HISTORY: PHOTOGRAPH ALBUM BELONGING TO IMPERIAL CHINA’S BRITISH HERO TO BE SOLD...

Lawrence’s in Crewkerne will be offering an important album of photographs by Felice Beato in their sale of Printed Books, Photographs, Autographs and Maps on January 31st, 2014.

The album was compiled in 1863 for Capt. Roderick Dew, R.N., who had arrived in Yokohama, Japan after leading a successful coalition of Chinese Imperial Troops, British and French forces to liberate the town of Ningbo and surrounding provinces from the Taiping Rebellion in 1862. For this action he received the Gold Medal of Merit from the Emperor of China in 1865. The album contains 68 individual albumen prints that are amongst the earliest photographs extant that record both China and Japan. It includes 11 folding panoramas of views, and a portrait by Felice Beato of Capt. Roderick Dew [2nd from left in group photo] with representatives of American, French and British forces.

“This album is one of the most extensive and historically significant to appear on the market in many years,” says a Lawrence’s specialist. “It is  also one of the earliest recorded from the studio of Felice Beato in Yokohama, widely regarded as an important pioneer of photography in Japan.”

Capt. Roderick Dew (1823-1869) was noted for his bravery long before his service in China and Japan. He received his commission on 7 February 1846 and served in the Mediterranean, Cape of Good Hope and Pacific Stations. In May 1859 Dew participated in a successful attack on the North Taku Fort as Commander of HMS Nimrod. In 1862 Admiral Sir James Hope instructed Dew to proceed to Ningbo, now occupied by Taiping rebels who posed a threat to the Qing Dynasty and to British trade. After the failure of negotiations, Dew led a coalition of Chinese Imperial Troops, British and French forces that were greatly outnumbered by Taiping rebels in an historic and successful attack to liberate Ningbo. It was described at the time as ‘by far the best thing of the kind done either in China or elsewhere since the peace of 1815’.

Subsequent to his success in Ningbo, Captain Dew took HMS Encounter to Yokohama, Japan, where he met the photographer Felice Beato. The album he compiled and now offered here served as a record of Dew’s military service in China and Japan. It has remained in the family since it was first purchased from the photographer, 150 years ago. It is expected to make £50000-70000 at auction, with intense interest expected from photograph collectors and military historians in this country and in Asia

For full details, please visit the Lawrence’s website at www.lawrences.co.uk.