Photograph album and box, 'Scenes of Beiping', paper / cardboard / silk / wood, photographs by Hedda Hammer (Morrison), Peking, China, 1938 - 1946
The photographs in this album were taken by Hedda Hammer (Morrison) (1908-1991) during her sojourn in Peking 1933-1946, and complement the large collection of her photographs, personal memorabilia and objects donated to the Powerhouse Museum by her husband Alastair Morrison. It is a fine example of the type of album that Hedda produced for wealthy clients, mostly expatriates, after her contract at Hartung's Photo Shop expired in 1938.
Hedda's photographs of Peking were well known and she sold prints and albums to wealthy overseas visitors as souvenirs. The photographs in this album are vintage prints and each has a caption written in pencil by Hedda. The photographs include some that are represented in the Museum's collection of exhibition prints and others that are not. The subjects of the photographs include 'Shanhaiguan, view from the Great Wall', 'Jade Fountain, Marble Pagoda', 'Forbidden City, Corner Tower', 'Tanzhe si, Western Hills', 'Coal Hill from Beihai', 'Altar of Heaven', 'Temple of Heaven', 'Jehol, Summer Palace', 'Great Wall at Nankow', 'Summer Palace', 'Nan Hsi Men in Frost', 'View from City Wall, Cheng Ting Fu', 'Hsi Pien Men', 'Hsi Che Men', 'Yellow Temple', 'Beihai Pailou', 'Pei Hai', 'Forbidden City from Pei Hai', 'Nan Hai'.
The final page in the album is signed at lower left: 'Photographs, Hedda Hammer, Peiping', indicating that it predates her marriage with Alastair Morrison on 5 July 1946. The album and photographs are in good condition. The front of the silk covered box is faded.
According to Alastair Morrison the photographs of the Great Wall were most probably taken during a trip when Hedda realised on her return that she had left a roll of film near the wall. She retraced her steps, found the film, but as it was too late to return she had no option but to sleep on the wall. Alastair also observed that the photograph taken in Zhengding fu was the first photographic trip that Hedda made outside of Peking and that the Altar of Heaven photograph was taken in the moonlight. Alastair also observed that it was most likely the photographs were taken between 1939 and 1942. (Conversation with Alastair Morrison upon viewing the album in Canberra, 25 August 2005).
This album is a fine example of the type Hedda Hammer produced for travellers and wealthy clients, mostly expatriates, after her contract at Hartung's Photo Shop expired in 1938. She worked from a small darkroom in her home at Nanchang Street and, following the model of Hartung's, prepared thematic albums of her photographs. Potential buyers had the option of ordering single photographs or an entire album composed of photographs of their choice. According to Alastair Morrison, the albums and boxes were made up at a small shop in Hatamen, now known as Chongwengmen. The photographs in this album are vintage prints and each has a caption written in pencil by Hedda.