Collections Summer Update

Traditionally, the Society is quieter than usual during the Summer months, due to the lower number of Events. But staff continue to work busily away, and in recent weeks we have been particularly pleased to begin welcoming readers and volunteers back to the Library. We hope to go back to our previous opening hours once remaining lockdown restrictions are lifted. Other news about collections and reader services includes:

New Accessions: 

The Society has recently acquired some new accessions to its collections. This includes several photo albums belonging to the historian and diplomat, John Cecil Cloake, which have been donated by his son, John Cloake. Mainly taken during diplomatic postings between 1950 and 1972, these albums provide valuable architectural and topographical insights into major cultural and archaeological centres across the Middle East and South East Asia. The albums supplement another series of photographs by John Cecil Cloake that were donated in 2016, and previously featured on this blog: The Society also holds John Cecil Cloake’s unpublished manuscripts containing his original research on Old Tehran, as well as the “Azerbaijan Crisis”, one of the first crises of the Cold War.


Image taken from one of the photo albums.

The Society has also been very grateful to receive some substantial donations of books. The first is an outstanding collection of books and papers on the history and culture of Manipur, in northeastern India. This collection has been presented in honour of the late Dr Saroj Arambam Parratt, by her husband, Professor John Parratt.

The second collection focuses on the political, religious, and philosophical history of modern China, comprising books from the library of the Society’s late Fellow John Brendan Soul. We look forward to cataloguing both collections over the coming months, so that these books can be made available to members and researchers.

Digital Library Update: 

The Society’s Digital Library continues to expand. A new collection of South-East Asian manuscripts should be added in the coming days. Please stay tuned for further updates!

Map Collection: 

We look forward to soon welcoming Philip Jagessar, PhD candidate in the History of Geography Department at the University of Nottingham, who will be researching the Society’s map collection over the Summer. Philip has been awarded a Harley Fellowship for his project, ‘Orienting empire in an oriental society: The acquisition, circulation, and mobilisation of maps in the Royal Asiatic Society, 1823 – 1950’ (

JRAS Editor Applications:

Readers are reminded that the Society is inviting applications for the position of Editor of the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. Professor Sarah Ansari, who has been the Editor for twenty years, is retiring after taking up office as the Society’s President.

The Society invites applications from individuals or editorial partnerships based anywhere in the world. The successful candidate(s) will have a clear and exciting vision for the journal’s future development and the energy, commitment and standing to realise that vision.


Previous edition of the Society’s journal.


Interested applicants are encouraged to send a brief CV and covering letter to Dr Gordon Johnson ( who is Chair of the Society’s Publications Committee. Dr Johnson is also willing to answer any informal enquiries for the post. Applications are welcome at any time up until the 16th July 2021.

More information about the role can also be found on the website here:

Ceramic Exchange and the Indian Ocean Economy:

Please join us on Thursday 8th July at 17:00pm for the online launch of Ceramic Exchange and the Indian Ocean Economy (AD 400-1275) by Seth M. N. Priestman.

Jointly hosted with the Islamic and Indian Art Circles of SOAS, guest speakers will include: Professor Mark Horton (Royal Agricultural University), Dr Elizabeth Lambourn (De Montfort University), Dr Derek Kennet (Durham University), Dr Daniela De Simone (Ghent University) and Dr Michael Willis (Fellow, Royal Asiatic Society).

Ceramic Exchange and the Indian Ocean Economy is a British Museum Research Publication which is supported by the European Research Council Beyond Boundaries Project. Seth Priestman is an Honorary Research Fellow at Durham University and is an experienced archaeologist, working on the Hellenistic, Late Antique and Islamic periods in the Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf, Middle East and Transcaucasia.

To register, please email and the Zoom link and password will be provided. A discount code will be made available to those who have registered.

We look forward to seeing many of you there!