Foochow and the River Min, a bound album of eighty photographs pub. 1873, London autotype carbon prints 38.1 x 53.5 cm. (15 x 21 in.) album size.
Thomson was born in Edinburgh and in 1862 departed for Singapore where his elder brother, William worked as a watchmaker. John and his brother jointly operated a succesful chronometer and nautical instrument business and it was during this period that he started to explore the rural settlements, taking a keen interest in photographing the populace engaged in their daily activities. He briefly returned to England, where he was elected to the Royal Geographical Society in 1866, but left for Singapore in 1867.
From late 1870 to early 1871 Thomson traveled extensively in the Fuzhou (Foochow) region, he travelled up the River Min with the American missionary the Rev. Justus Doolittle and then to Amoy and Swatow.
The resultant photgraphs were published privately by subscription and only forty six copies were produced.