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Sydney Ideas – Suzhou: Expatriate images of Republican China in the National Library of Australia

July 4, 2018

Expatriate images of Republican China in the National Library of Australia: Stanley O. Gregory and Kelly & Walsh publishing company

Between the 1880s and 1940s, Kelly & Walsh was one of the leading English-language publishers of books about China and East Asia, including illustrated photographic books but also academic publications by foreign and Chinese writers. Born in England, Stanley O. Gregory, worked for Kelly & Walsh in Hong Kong in the 1920s and then in Shanghai during the 1930-40s. Besides letters and diaries, Gregory’s papers, in the National Library of Australia, also include a collection of 300 medium-format photographic negatives showing scenes from picturesque locations near Shanghai, such as Suzhou and Hangzhou, and some images of Beijing. While the photographs are sympathetic, even romantic portraits of China, they eschew a journalistic function, avoiding the contemporary socio-political changes in 1920s-30s China – including only two images of urban Shanghai. Gregory was an amateur photographer, but my research suggests these images were probably produced by other photographers for Kelly & Walsh publications. Reading these photographs alongside Gregory’s life in Shanghai reveals the complicated experience of long-term expatriates in China at the time—and seems to uncover a previously unknown Kelly & Walsh archive of photographs.

Event Details

  • When:

    6.00pm - 7.30pm

  • Where:

    Wisdom Centre Tower A 1202, Floor 12, 10 Yueliangwan Road, Suzhou

  • Contact:

    Centre in China

  • More info:

    Dr. Olivier Krischer is deputy director of the China Studies Centre, at the University of Sydney. He was previously visiting fellows at the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica, and post-doctoral fellow at the Australian Centre on China in the World, Australian National University. He completed his PhD in Japan, at the University of Tsukuba, on the subject of Japanese art historian Ōmura Seigai 大村西崖 and China-Japan art relations in the 1910s-1920s. More recently he has researched Japanese interest in contemporary Chinese art, and recent networks of art and social engagement in East Asia.