British photographers of Italian origin. Antonio Beato (b ?the Veneto, c. 1830; d Luxor, 1903) and his brother Felice [Felix] Beato (b ?the Veneto, c. 1830; d Mandalay, after 1904) were for many years thought to be one person with two names, Antonio and Felice, and only recently has the mystery been solved of the almost contemporaneous presence of a Beato in two different (and often very distant) places. The misunderstanding arose from the fact that both their names (Antonio Felice Beato) appear on several photographs. A closer inquiry brought to light a letter written by Antonio and published in the French paper, Moniteur de la photographie (1 June 1886), in which he explains that he is not the producer of the exotic photographs recently exhibited in London, mention of which had been made in the Moniteur of 10 March; the photographer was instead ‘[his] brother Monsieur Felice Beato of Japan’....
(b Edinburgh, June 14, 1837; d London, Sept 30, 1921).
Scottish photographer and writer. After studying chemistry at Edinburgh University he settled on the island of Pinang, Malaysia, where he began practising as a professional photographer in 1862. Over the next 12 years he travelled extensively in the region, taking many photographs in Siam (now Thailand; see fig.), Cambodia, Vietnam and China. His subjects ranged from ethnography to antiquities, and his style is distinguished by the directness with which he represented landscapes and social practices that to his western contemporaries appeared almost fantastic. Despite acute difficulties of climate and terrain, he used the cumbersome wet collodion process, producing large-format (up to 360×480 mm) and stereographic negatives that are noted for their clarity of detail and richness of tone.
Unlike most travel photographers of his generation Thomson rarely exhibited his work, preferring the illustrated album as the medium best suited to his documentary approach. In all he produced nine such albums, varying widely both in format and reprographic process. The first, ...