The Album

Siren's first publications in the study of Chinese Art appeared around the early 1920s and shortly after he travelled to china to directly study and photograph the Chinese cultural and artistic achievements. His most documented of such visits evolved into the three volume photo-album The Imperial Palaces of Peiking, which was published in 1926 in both Britain and France. The original edition included 274 images, 12 architectural drawings, 2 maps, and a short historical account by Siren himself. Another edition was also published in New York fifty years later.

The photographs in the album - which were taken in the early 1920s, prior to the expulsion of the child emporer, Pu Yi - included images of the Forbidden City and environs, especially the New Summer Palace of the Emporess Dowager and the buildings surrounding the three large lakes of the Inner City. Taken in collotype print, the subjects were mainly architectural, both interior and exterior, and a few images, surprisingly, even included a personal sitting by the emperor's brother.

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