Peking, Pechili province, China: Yi Xin (Prince Gong). Photograph by John Thomson, 1869.
A portrait of a man, seated, with a rockery in the background. The same man, wearing the same clothes, as in Thomson's negative number 691. Identified as Yi Xin (Prince Gong), sixth son of Emperor Daoguang and the youngest brother of Emperor Xianfeng. He was little known before 1860, when the Emperor fled the capital to escape the British and French army. On behalf of his brother and the Qing government, Prince Gong met General Gordon and the allied powers and negotiated the peace treaty. After that Prince Gong held several high military and civil appointments, including membership of the Supreme Council. He was also in charge of the Office of Foreign Affairs. In this portrait Thomson intended to show a modernizer and a pro-Western figure right at the top of the Chinese government, one who was 'quick of apprehension, open to advice, and comparatively liberal in his views'