A photographer and travel writer, he was born on 14 June 1837 at Portland Place, Edinburgh, the third of the four children to survive infancy of William Thomson (1794–c.1870), tobacconist, and his wife, Isabella Newlands (1801–1863).
He contributed a series of illustrated articles on life in China to The Graphic in 1872–3, published privately a magnificent portfolio of carbon prints, Foochow and the River Min (1873), and more importantly a large-scale work, Illustrations of China and its People(1873–4), which was responsible for firmly establishing his reputation as a photographer, traveller, and leading authority on China.
He was decorated by the French Government for his work in Cambodia
(Source Richard Ovenden)
Image of John Thomson University of Bristol Library Creative Commons License (www.hpcbristol.net).