Photographs of Asia form the core of an antique collection that included collections of photography, the best known of which is that of Felice Beato.
After being sent to photograph the Franco-British Expedition to China in 1860, Felice Beato went to Japan. In 1863 he was living in Yokohama, where he ran a studio with the English artist and cartoonist Charles Wirgman between 1865 and 1869.
In 1864, he was the official photographer covering the bombardment of Shimonoseki.
After his studio was destroyed in a fire that ravaged Yokohama in 1866, he produced two photography books, one devoted to the indigenous peoples, entitled Native Types, including some 100 hand-coloured photographs, the other devoted to Japanese landscapes, entitled Views of Japan.
Cernuschi’s collection includes 44 prints from these two books. The photographs were glued onto ten panels of blue cardboard for their display, and have been preserved ever since on their original mounts.