Join Laura Muldowney, Researcher, East Asian Collections, on a tour through our temporary gallery to discover the work of John Thomson. John Thomson’s photographic vision marks him out as one of history’s most important travel photographers. Featuring dramatic images developed from negatives preserved in London’s Wellcome Library, this exhibition introduces the sights and people of nineteenth-century Thailand as captured by Thomson’s camera. Born in Edinburgh in 1837, the photographer and writer travelled to Asia in 1862. Over the next ten years he undertook numerous journeys across the region, spending almost a year in the kingdom of Siam (modern Thailand).
During this time, Thomson was granted unique access to the court of King Mongkut (r. 1851–-68). Also known as Rama IV, Mongkut was a progressive monarch. Sincerely interested in Western ideas and sciences, he was keen to exploit the relatively new technology of photography.
Location: Meeting at Reception Desk