PhotoLexicon, Volume 5, nr. 9 (September 1988) (en)

Antoon Bauduin

Herman J. Moeshart


The photography of Antoon Bauduin has a special place in the history of photography in Japan, primarily based on the subjects that he photographed as an amateur photographer. Bauduin concentrated on capturing his immediate surroundings in photographs, as well as portraying his friends and visitors to his home on the island of Dejima. The photographic albums that Bauduin left behind provide an excellent image of the lives led by Europeans in a country that had only just recently opened its borders to foreigners.




Antonius Franciscus Bauduin is born on 20 June in Dordrecht, as the son of Franciscus Dominicus Andreas Bauduin and Maria Jacoba Masion.


Antoon Bauduin enrolls at the University of Utrecht as a student of medicine.


Bauduin continues his education in medicine at the University of Groningen. He enrolls in the Royal Army. On 22 July, he is appointed Medical Officer 3rd Class.


On 30 November, Bauduin is promoted to the rank of Medical Officer 2nd Class.


Bauduin is appointed instructor at the Rijkskweekschool voor Militaire Geneeskundigen (‘National Educational School for Military Physicians’) in Utrecht. (Educational weg)


Bauduin is invited by the Japanese government to become an instructor at the Nagasaki Yojosho Medical School. He arrives in Japan on 30 October.


Soon after the start of his stay in Japan until his return to the Netherlands, Bauduin practices photography as a hobby and as a form of visual reporting for his relations at home.


From December 1866 to March 1867, Bauduin returns to the Netherlands on leave.


Bauduin becomes an instructor at the medical school in Osaka.


Bauduin’s is employed as a teacher is at the Daigaku Tokyo (a medical school in Tokyo).


On 1 June, Bauduin departs for the Netherlands.


On 15 August, Bauduin is promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel Physician


Bauduin is pensioned.


Antonius Franciscus Bauduin dies on 7 June in The Hague.


When the military physician, Dr. A.F. Bauduin, first set foot in Japan in 1862, photography had already become a regular part of Japanese society thanks to his predecessors and their Japanese pupils.

During his years in Japan, Bauduin was also involved in photography. Unlike the photos taken by his predecessors – dr. Jan Karel van den Broek and Jhr. J.L.C. Pompe van Meerdervoort, who were also physician/photographers – Bauduin’s photos have been preserved. As a result, it is his photographic legacy that today represents what was being photographed in distant Japan during the early years of photography.

As an enthusiastic amateur photographer, Bauduin photographed his friends, relations and living surroundings for his own recollection as well as for family members back in the Netherlands. He collected these photos in a number of albums, and included photos taken by professional photographers working in Japan, such as Felix Beato and Ueno Hikoma. Antoon and his brother, Albert Bauduin, who was also living in Japan, were not the only people assembling photographic albums of this nature. A friend of Bauduin’s, the diplomat Dirk de Graeff, also left behind important photo albums.

Photography arrived in Japan through the ‘Window to the West’, the Dutch trading post on the small man-made island of Dejima in Nagasaki Bay. The barrier protecting Japan from contacts with foreigners was never as hermetically sealed off as authors in the past would have one believe. Generally speaking, however, it remains a fact that of all the Western nations, the Netherlands was the only country that had maintained trade relations with Japan for approximately 250 years.

Around the middle of the nineteenth century, interest in Western science and technology had begun to grow in Japan. Although this interest was primarily oriented towards military knowledge and the importation of modern weaponry, other technical inventions made their way from Europe to Japan in the wake of this import. At the same time, the dispersion of knowledge through books and magazines also increased.

In this way a description of Daguerre’s process in the Nederlandsch Magazijn ter verspreiding van algemeene en nuttige kundigheden (‘Netherlands Magazine for the Distribution of General and Useful Skills’), was used by Japanese writers for an adaptation of Daguerre’s instructions in a book over printing and printing techniques, entitled ‘Inshōkeibi ni tsuite no kenkyū’. Schoolbooks on physics and chemistry imported into Japan provided an additional source of information. A ‘bestseller’, imported into Japan in numerous editions, was undoubtedly P. van der Berg, Eerste grondbeginselen der natuurkunde, strekkende tot leesboek voor alle standen, hoofdzakelijk tot zelfonderricht voor jonge lieden en tot handleiding voor onderwijzers (‘Fundamental Principles of Physics, designed as a reading book for all classes, primarily for self-learning among young people and as an instruction manual for instructors’).

According to archival documents in the National Archive, the first photographic cameras were imported into Japan through Dejima in 1855. Most of the cameras were sold on to other buyers, but some were also kept at Dejima in order to stimulate interest among potential Japanese buyers. The physician, dr. Jan Karel van den Broek, used two of these cameras to give photography lessons to Japanese students in the years 1855 -’57. For this purpose, a darkroom was built on the island.

In 1857, Van den Broek was succeeded by Baron J.L.C. Pompe van Meerdervoort, a navy physician, who also gave instruction in photography, most likely as part of his lessons in physics and chemistry. These classes were taken by Ueno Hikoma, who opened the first photography studio in Japan at his home in Nagasaki in 1862.

Under Pompe van Meerdervoort, a hospital was built in Nagasaki at the expense of the Japanese government, where Pompe taught classes in the medical sciences as well as physics and chemistry. When Pompe was called to return to the Netherlands in 1862, the Japanese government requested that a physician be sent who could carry on with these classes and take over the running of the hospital. Antoon Bauduin was appointed to this task. A.J. (Albert) Bauduin, who had been in Japan since 1859, had preceded his brother, Antoon, as an Agent for the Nederlandsche Handelmaatschappij (‘Netherlands Trading Society’). When Antoon arrived on the island of Dejima on 30 October 1862, he moved in with his brother.

Bauduin was not obliged to continue the photography lessons given by his predecessors, Van den Broek and Pompe van Meerdervoort. Ueno Hikoma had assumed this task and gathered a group of students around him. Accordingly, it was not on the behalf of Bauduin’s career that he became involved in photography: he did so for his own personal pleasure. How or from whom he learned to photograph is not known. According to statements made by Professor Ueno Ichirō, a family member of Ueno Hikoma, Ueno and Bauduin knew each other well and discussed matters that concerned photography.

Bauduin’s photographic legacy – together with other photos pasted into six photo albums, of which a small part has been seriously damaged due to fire and water used to extinguish the flames – clearly reveals that he photographed according to principles of the West. This can be more readily seen in his portraits than in his landscapes. The friends and relations that he portrayed were asked to pose in a manner that was customary for professional photographers of that time.

Bauduin built a small open-air studio in the garden of his house on Dejima. Many of the portrait photos were taken at this location. European pieces of furniture, such as side-tables, chairs, a curtain and a carpet on the wooden floor were used to furnish the garden studio. These attributes appear repeatedly in various photos. When taking his photographs, Bauduin sometimes kept so much distance between himself and his subjects that the resulting photos provide a glimpse of what was found in the vicinity of his studio. Perhaps it was his intention to crop the edges of these photos.

From surviving letters from Albert Bauduin’s correspondence with his sisters in Holland, we can occasionally gather a bit of insight regarding the his brother Antoon’s photographic activities. A letter dated 24 March 1863 states the following: ‘Here you will find a photographic portrait of your Japanese family, also suitable for stereoscope. In my opinion, I’ve turned out better than Toon…’. Antoon enjoyed being in the photos himself. It is likely that in these cases, he had one of his Japanese students take the photos. One notices that he was always looking at the camera somewhat nervously.

That Bauduin approached his hobby seriously is affirmed by the notations one finds on the reverse side of some of the photos: ‘Photographic establishment of Bauduin’ and the technical remark: ‘new silver bath’. Bauduin worked with formats of up to circa 18×24 cm and took his photographs and prints most likely on self-made plates and paper on a collodion base. Available archival documents do not show that any photographic materials were imported, but do mention chemicals such as collodion and silver nitrate, as well as paper that could be used for making paper negatives or prints.

That he was not always able to achieve satisfying results the first time around is affirmed by the many double prints of certain photos, often with large differences in quality. The landscapes that Bauduin made are dull and show little detail, probably because he did not have the right lens for these kinds of shots. The best of his photos are the aforementioned portraits of Western and Japanese friends and visitors, as well as his Japanese pupils.

The charm of Bauduin’s photos lies undoubtedly in the informal way in which friends and associates were portrayed. One hundred years later, his photos still manage to show something of the atmosphere that Dutch people experienced in Japan during that era. His photos function as a supplement to those taken in Japan in the 1860s by the professional photographer, Felix Beato. In this regard, Bauduin’s photos are also valuable as a visual historical account of the informal contacts between Japan and the West.


Secondary bibliography

Kawamoto Kōmin, Tōsei kikijutsu (Technologie uit het verre Westen), ca. 1855.

Sadahiro Koizumi, Inshōkeibi ni tsuite no kenkyū (studie over grafische kunst en -technieken), Tokyo 1975.

J. Maclean, De betekenis van Jan Karel van den Broek (1814-1865) t.a.v. de introductie van de Westerse technologie in Japan, in De Ingenieur 1975, nr. 30/31.

Sadahiro Koizumi, ‘Inshōkeibi’ no genpon to mitomerareru ‘Nederando Magazin’ no kijutsu to ‘Magazin Pitoresuku’ oyobi ‘Dageru manyuaru’ no kijutsu no hikaku (Vergelijking van de beschrijving in het Nederlandsch Magazijn en Magasin Pittoresque en de handleiding van Daguerre met een beschouwing van de eerste uitgave van Inshōkeibi), Tokyo 1977.

Sadahiro Koizumi, Kawamoto Kōmin ni kansuru kenkyū (studie over Kawamoto Kōmin), Tokyo 1978.

Clark Worswick, Japan photographs 1854-1905, New York 1979.

Ozawa Takeshi, The history of early photography in Japan, in The History of Photography 5 (oktober 1981) 4, p. 285-303.

Ingeborg Th. Leijerzapf, Herman J. Moeshart e.a., Yomigaeru Bakumatsu, Tokyo (Asahi Shimbun) 1986.

Herman. J. Moeshart, Nederlanders als leermeesters in de fotografie, in In het spoor van de Liefde, Amsterdam (de Bataafsche Leeuw) 1986, p. 121-123.

Kazuo Goto e.a., Furui shashin kan, Tokyo 1986.

Ingeborg Th. Leijerzapf, Herman J. Moeshart e.a., Herinneringen aan Japan, Den Haag (Staatsuitgeverij) 1987.

Herman J. Moeshart, Journaal van Jonkheer Dirk de Graeff van Polsbroek 1857-1870, Assen/Maastricht (Van Gorcum) 1987.

Kazuo Goto e.a., Yomigaeru bakumatsu, Tokyo 1987.

Yokohama Kaikō Shiryōkan, F. Beato bakumatsu nihon shashinshu, Yokohama 1987.

Miyako Vos, Oranda ryōji no bakumatsu isshin (Japanse uitgave van de brieven van AJ. Bauduin), Tokyo 1987.

(Ik maak van de gelegenheid gerbuik de Japanse titels meteen van de juiste macron te voorzien en een paar spellingsfoutjes in het oudere origineel te corrigeren. Worden de titels niet vertaald? Daar staat nog steeds Nederlands in.)


Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum Nederland

Scheepvaartmuseum (fotoalbums van Dirk de Graeff van Polsbroek; manuscript van het Journaal van Dirk de Graeff van Polsbroek).

Den Haag, Nationaal Archief (Copies of the letters of A.J. Bauduin; archives of the Dutch Trading Post in Japan; archives of the Consulates at Nagasaki and Yokohama; archives of the Netherlands Trading Society) afschriften van de brieven van A.J. Bauduin; archieven van de Nederlandse Factorij in Japan; archieven van de Consulaten te Nagasaki en Yokohama; archieven van de Nederlandsche Handelmaatschappij).


Privé collectie (fotoalbums van de gebroeders Bauduin).

Leiden, Prentenkabinet van de Rijksuniversiteit (reproducties van de fotoalbums van de gebroeders Bauduin).

Leiden, Rijksuniversiteit, Metamedica.

Yokohama, Kaikō Shiryōkan (Historisch Archief Yokohama).

Nagasaki, Bauduin Collectie (Universiteit van Nagasaki)