Thomas Child (1841-1898) was born in Madeley (Shropshire, England). In 1870 he moved with his wife and children to Beijing, where he worked until 1889 as a gas engineer for the Imperial Chinese Maritime Customs. Child was not a professional but a keen amateur photographer. Disinclined to document local life, he dedicated most of his attention to traditional architecture and monuments. His peregrinations through Beijing and its surroundings led him to northern sites such as the Old Summer Palace (Yuanmingyuan), the Great Wall and the Ming tombs. Albeit being an amateur photographer, his photographs were sold commercially and found their way into private albums and publications well into the twentieth century. Their wide diffusion gradually shaped China’s image in foreign eyes.
• Thomas Child’s photographs on the database “Historical Photographs of China”
• Thiriez, Régine. Barbarian Lens: Western Photographers of the Qianlong Emperor's European Palaces. Amsterdam: Gordon and Breach, 1998.