The Women of Old China in John Thomson’s Photographs – Yang-May Ooi [video]

Multimedia author and exhibition video blogger, Yang-May Ooi, talks about the special section of the John Thomson Exhibition dedicated to the women of Old China.

There’s still time to catch the John Thomson Exhibition if you act fast! The exhibition closes 23 June 2018 so you have a week left to go and see it at the Brunei Gallery in London – it’s free.

In this video, I share my personal response to the special room at the John Thomson Exhibition dedicated to the women he photographed during his travels in Old China during the 1860s. It is a unique glimpse into the private world of high born women in bound feet as well as the working women of that time.

Come to the John Thomson Exhibition


Exhibition: China and Siam – Through the Lens of John Thomson

Venue: Brunei Gallery, SOAS, Thornhaugh Street, London WC1H 0XG, near Russell Square

Dates: NOW ON  to 23 June 2018

Open: Tuesday – Saturday: 10:30 – 17:00

Late night Thursday until 20:00

Closed: Sundays, Mondays and Bank Holidays


The Women's Room at the John Thomson Exhibition



Video filmed and edited by Joanne Ooi of


Yang-May Ooi is the multimedia author and also blogger for the John Thomson Exhibition. She is the bestselling author of The Flame Tree and acclaimed writer/ performer of Bound Feet Blues. She also hosts a number of podcasts, including Creative Conversations and South London Voices.


The John Thomson Exhibition Blog features multi-media stories about John Thomson, the Victorian photographer, and the London exhibition of his photos of China and Old Siam from the 1860s, Through the Lens of John Thomson, co-curated by Betty Yao and Narisa Chakrabongse.