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Shades of
the Past

Felice Beato, The Great Buddha (Daibutsu) at Hase, Kamakura, Top steps left - Charls Wirgman right - Felice Beato, 186, David Newman collection, London

Shades of the Past

Photographs of Japan 1864-1876 from the collection of John W. Henderson

 

February 10th - April 14tn, 2001

Curator: Dr. Ilana Singer

 

The photographs in the Henderson Collection cover a period of change in Japan - the end of the isolation of the Tokugawa era

(1603-1868) and the exciting beginnings of a modern industrial society based on western technology in the Meiji era (1868-1912).

 

John W. Henderson was an Australian bank official, who lived in Japan during that period and amassed a unique collection of photographs of life in Japan around the industrial ports of Nagasaki, Yokohama and, in particular, Kobe. There are photographs of scenes and views that have hardly changed, echoes of traditional Japan. But there are also sights which are very different today - Hirakawa Port (1865) which had hardly changed since medieval times; the main thoroughfare of Kobe (1872) with western-style buildings, street lighting, sidewalks and drainage systems, even a photograph of the cruel assassination of Captain Baldwin and Lieutenant Bird at Kamakura (1864). There are also photographs of John Henderson and his friends of the Kobe Rowing Club, and of the Club's first race on Christmas Eve (1870).

 

The photographs belong to Mr. David Newman of London, who has been collecting, for the past forty years, Japanese photographs and paintings from the end of the Tokugawa regime to the Taisho period (1912-1926).

 
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