Albert Smith's Panorama of China

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Albert Smith's Panorama of China (also known as the Panorama of China or Mont Blanc to China) was a moving panorama devised by Albert Smith (d.1860).

The original text

Ostensibly showing and describing a trip from Mont Blanc to China, it was originally shown and presented by the author at the Egyptian Hall in Piccadilly, London, in 1859, shortly before Smith's death in 1860. It went on an international tour afterwards, visiting the USA and the British colonies.

For a description of contents and presentation of the show, see the review in The Moreton Bay Courier (Brisbane, Queensland, : 1846 - 1861) of Saturday 9 July, 1859: p. 4[1]

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

Despite the original creator's demise, the physical panorama itself was brought to South Africa in 1863 as part of the repertoire of a company led by J.F. Finlayson (who also acted as narrator of the panorama and was the musical director) Mr Bowmer, Madame Bowmer and Miss Whitfield. The machinery arrived late, so an interim programme of selections from Il Trovatore and supporting acts was devised and the panorama was only presented in July of the year. Apparently a great success in Cape Town.

The company broke up after the presentation and nothing more is heard of the Panorama of China in South Africa.


"Smith, Albert (d.1860)" in Peter E. Palmquist and Thomas R. Kailbourn. 2000. Pioneer Photographers of the Far West: A Biographical Dictionary, 1840-1865. Stanford University Press: p.504[2]

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 186-7,

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