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HKFP Lens: Dezső Bozóky’s dreamy, hand-coloured photographs of historic Hong Kong

Hungarian photographer Dezső Bozóky’s historic hand-coloured photographs of 1900s era Hong Kong document the lives of European expatriates, government buildings and cemeteries, as well as Chinese street vendors, food stalls and activity along the harbour.

Standing at Lower Lascar Row; Lok Ku Road is to the right. Photo: ©Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts.

Bozóky (1871-1957) spent almost two years travelling in East Asia, including to Hong Kong, during which time he took a large number of photographs to supplement his travel accounts.

View from The Peak onto the Central Sheung Wan district. Second building to the right from the centre of the image is the Central Market; to the left is the Sheung Wan Market (Western Market). Photo: ©Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts.

He took approximately 1,500 photographs across East Asia, including in China, Korea and Japan; a total of 58 images were shot in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception at 16 Caine Road. The tower on the left was demolished in 1947. Raimondi College is currently located in this site. Photo: ©Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts.

His archive forms a collective memory of a colonial Hong Kong that has largely vanished from the landscape. Viewers are afforded the chance to visit the places that Bozóky saw during his daily walks, and to relive Hong Kong’s distinctive architecture and famed seascapes.

Happy Valley Cemetery; view from Kennedy Road with the Union Church tower on the left. Photo: ©Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts.

The majority of Bozóky’s photographs were taken on Hong Kong Island.

Prince’s Building and Queen’s Building (now the Mandarin Oriental), St. George’s Building, King’s Building and Mansion Hotel (now Chater House). Photo: ©Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts.

58 of Bozóky’s historical images were collected in a collaborative project between The University Museum and Art Gallery (UMAG) of The University of Hong Kong (HKU) and the Hong Kong Image Database of HKU Libraries.

View from Wellington Street to Queen’s Road Central and Bonham Strand East. The No. 5 Police Station is on the right of the Lunar New Year Market. Photo: ©Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts.

30 of these photographs are currently on display at the University of Hong Kong’s museum and art gallery until January 8, 2017.

View from May Road of the Mid-Levels and Central. In the middle is Des Voeux Road Central. From right to left: Prince’s Building, King Edward Hotel and Alexandra Building (now Alexandra House). Photo: ©Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts.

Man Mo Temple, 124–126 Hollywood Road. Photo: ©Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts.

Jubilee Street looking up from Des Voeux Road Central and Tit Hong Lane. On the left is the Central Market; Queen’s Road Central is in the middle. To the right of Yan Sau Tong is Gutzlaff Street (Hung Mo Giu Street). Photo: ©Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts.

Looking east from Li Yuen Street East to Queen’s Road Central. The Pedder Street Clock Tower, visible at the end of the street, was knocked down in 1913. Photo: ©Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts.

Bozóky’s photographs are also available online at the Hong Kong Image Database for public viewing.

HKFP Lens: Dezső Bozóky’s dreamy, hand-coloured photographs of historic Hong Kong