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James Hutchinson

The  photographs of China in the early years of the twentieth century were  taken by a young corporal of the Royal Inniskilling  Fusiliers, James Hutchinson, when stationed there from 1909. His battalion was guarding the  British Legation in Peking and Concession in Tientsin in the wake of the Boxer  Rebellion of 1900, which had seen the massacre of civilian and military  personnel of the foreign powers and of Christian Chinese. Despite the alien and volatile setting,  Hutchinson, born in Co. Laois, was fascinated by the ancient civilisation of  ‘€˜the Celestials’€™ and its dawning modernisation.

Wounded later at Gallipoli, Hutchinson  re-settled with his family in Northern Ireland in the 1920s. His recollections,  together with his photographs of the great monuments, the people of China and  of his comrades-in-arms, make for a very personal, uniquely Irish and visually  stunning record of a transient moment when the paths of two great empires, the  British and the Chinese, collided.

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