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The George Hilton Panorama of Hong Kong

Circa 1904


The “George Hilton Panorama of Hong Kong” was photographed around 1904 by an exceptionally talented military photographer on duty in Hong Kong who later settled in the inland wine country of British Columbia at the peaceful lakeside town of Penticton, Canada. It’s thought he was stationed in Hong Kong with the Royal Engineers around the turn of the century.

The George Hilton Panorama of Hong Kong is currently availble in 2 sizes:


20cm x 102cm
US$ 98
HK$ 760



30cm x 152cm
US$ 228
HK$ 1780


Custom sizes are availble upon request,

maximum image size: 70cm x 3300cm


The typed annotations on the rear of one panel of the panorama talk of its making:

“He told me, that to take these matching photographs, he had to prepare (emulsion coating) his own 8 x 10 size glass plates in a covered earth hole and in it do the developing on the spot as well... They were given to me glued together but rolled up by Mr. Hilton around 1959/60. Taken around the turn of the Century 1899 or 1900”

After this note the history of “The George Hilton Hong Kong Panorama” was unknown until it was discovered many years later.

In 1996 the very badly damaged four print panorama was found by a Vancouver based camera collector who purchased it on behalf its current owner in Hong Kong.


Sadly the passage of over 100 years caused the four very delicate photographic prints to become badly damaged and beyond traditional display. Due to the processing chemicals used in the 1900's, each of the four photographs were taken on different photographic glass plates, giving each a unique colour tint.

Tears in the separte prints, lost fragments and the fact that the four photos had all been taped roughly together did not help.

These factors made “The George Hilton Panorama of Hong Kong” impossible to frame and any type of restoration almost impossible in the mid 1990s. Facing this but not wanting to damage the panorama the owner elected to preserve the four fragile prints in dry conditions and wait.

The advent of advanced digital restoration techniques and software enabled the four panels to then be scanned, then each was painstakingly restored pixel by pixel.

The restoration, conducted over many months by a talented photographer and photographic printer, not only removed all imperfections but balanced all four photographs that make up the panorama in both color and tone. After the balancing and restoration of each individual photograph was complete, they were then stitched together digitally creating a seamless panorama of Hong Kong.

Damaged and totally missing areas were re-built and though it was not possible to know the exact details required to re-build some of the gaps. It’s a challenge for anyone to know what was there over 100 years ago and what was not and the aim was to create the ultimate turn of the Century Hong Kong Panorama that this now represents.

copyright - daiyat.com ltd. 2009 – un-authorised reproduction or replication of the George Hilton Panorama of Hong Kong is prohibited and is a criminal offense in most jurisdictions. The copyright owner adopts a zero tolerance approach to any copyright infringement.