Fifty Photographs: selections from SCUA collections

Port of Nagasaki with American and British warships


Port of Nagasaki with American and British warships


Beato, Felice, 1832-1909




1 photograph


This view of Nagasaki Harbor would be unremarkable if not for the caption. The serenity of the scene, taken by Felice Beato in 1868, is interrupted by the presence of the USS Hartford, flagship of the Asiatic Squadron of the U.S. Navy, and the British HMS Rinaldo, and is a subtle signal of the degree to which western powers were attempting to exert their power over east Asia, using force when necessary to "open" ports and sealanes to commerce. Beato himself was an unusual child of empire: Venetian by birth and British by citizenship, he lived life as a global vagabond from the 1850s through 1870s. Traveling throughout Asia, camera in tow, he emerged as a pioneer in war photography during the Crimean War, and went on to document the Sepoy Rebellion, Second Opium War, and U.S. incursion into Korea. He was among the first western photographers to practice in India and China, and spent nearly fifteen years in Japan from 1863 to 1877. His studio produced important images of life in Meiji japan that often echoed on the composition of contemporary woodblock prints, and his legacy was carried forward by students and colleagues such as Kusakabe Kimbei, Ueno Hikoma, and Baron von Stillfried.


Felice Beato Collection (PH 004)



Cite As:

Port of Nagasaki with American and British warships. Photo by Felica Beato, ca.1868. Felice Beato Collection (PH 004)