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William Saunders 
Chinese execution 
1870
  
Albumen print 
20,5 x 28 cm 
  
Bassenge Photography Auctions 
Auction 104, 3 December 2014, 19th - 21st Century Photography, Lot: 4069 
  
 
LL/56075 
  
Arriving in China in the late 1850s, William Saunders was one of the first photographers there. He opened his photo studio in Shanghai in January 1862, and his fascination with the country led him to document scenes of everyday life which reflected nineteenth century China accurately. His photos were very popular and he contributed regularly to Western publications such as The Far East and the Illustrated London News. One of his most famous photos was that of a public execution during the Second Opium War. The photo, reprinted in many Western newspapers, met his audience’s expectations that the enemy they were fighting was ‘savage’, and justified the British military offensive there. 
 

 
  
 
  
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