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Felice Beato

British, born Venice, 1832 - 1909

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Felice Beato settled in Yokohama after documenting the Crimean War and the Indian Mutiny with his brother-in-law James Robertson, and, on his own, the Second Opium War in China in 1860. Beato was persuaded to come to Japan by Charles Wirgman, a foreign correspondent with the British press and founder of Japan Punch, the first English-language magazine published in Japan. Beato and Wirgman were partners from 1863 to 1869, when Beato established his own firm. The studio remained active until 1877, when Beato sold it and all its contents to the Austrian photographer Baron Raimund von Stillfried-Rathenitz.

Between 1863 and 1877, Beato created the first substantial photographic record of Japan available to Europeans. His work spanned the period when Japan was emerging from the feudal, non-industrial society governed by the Shogun to the modern, industrial power ruled by the Meiji emperor. Thus Beato's major publication, issued in 1868 in two volume entitled Native Types and Views of Japan, as well as his series Photographic Views and Costumes of Japan, document the last remnants of traditional Japan.

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