Vacher, William

William Herbert VACHER (c.1826-1899) was born in London. He became a merchant banker and prominent freemason, spending more than twenty years in China. He lived in Shanghai from 1851 to June 1863, working as the representative (later a partner) of Gilman, Bowman & Company (Tae-ping), a British tea trading hong. Vacher was gifted amateur photographer, and a friend of the Shanghai photographer Robert George Sillar. Several photographs, including many portraits, taken in and around Shanghai, and captioned with Vacher’s initials, are in two photograph albums once owned by the Vacher family and now held by the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute, Bath, England. It is probable that many other photographs in these two albums (HPC refs: VH01 and VH02) were also taken by Vacher, who used Frederick Scott Archer’s wet collodion process. VH01-019 is a portrait of William Vacher by an unidentified photographer. See History of Photography in China, 1842-1860 by Terry Bennett, pages 68-71.