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BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833)<br />
Pic: Sothebys/BNPS<br />
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Three high ranking Mandarins from the Peking court of Imperial China (l-r) Shen-kwe-fen Minister of War, Tung-sean minister of Finance and Maou-cheng-he Minister of Works.<br />
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Rare early photographs revealing what life in China looked like for the first time to the 19th century public have emerged 140 years after they were taken. <br />
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The stunning collection - comprising 200 black and white photographs of Far East landscapes and wide-ranging personal portraits of everybody from rural peasants to senior government officials - was the first volume of photos from the region to ever be included in a travel book. <br />
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Produced at a time when camera technology was still in its infancy, they were taken by celebrated Scottish photographer John Thomson between 1873 and 1874 during a 4,000-mile expedition across the country. <br />
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And now one of the last remaining copies of the album still known to exist is set to go under the hammer at Sotheby's in London on November 7 with an estimate of £35,000.