Reflections on Chinese Porcelain Collectors

On Wednesday 18 January, the Society was privileged to host a lecture by The Hon. James Stourton (Senior Fellow, Institute of Historical Research, London University) titled “Reflections on Chinese Porcelain Collectors”. James Stourton graduated from Cambridge Art History Faculty in 1979 and joined Sotheby’s Old Master paintings department, and was Chairman of Sotheby’s UK between 2007 and 2012. The enthusiastic audience was able to enjoy a lecture that was entertaining and insightful in equal measure, as James shared his reflections on professional encounters with some of the world’s foremost collectors of Chinese porcelain.

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The Hon. James Stourton takes questions with RAS President Dr Gordon Johnson

While James was keen to emphasize he is not a specialist in porcelain or Chinese art, his broad experiences nevertheless meant he was able to share invaluable observations on the world of collecting, both of porcelain and of art in general, in the Far East and the wider world. Those in attendance learned about the intellectual and personal motivations behind the collecting zeal of some of the most famous collectors of Chinese ceramics.

The lecture was beautifully illustrated with images of ravishing pieces of porcelain from a range of collections, making for a visual as well as intellectual feast. The lecture was followed by a number of questions from the appreciative audience, and a reception.

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James Stourton delivering his lecture


The next event taking place at the Society will be on Thursday 26 January at 6.30pm, when we will host a book launch for The defiant border: the Afghan-Pakistan borderlands in the era of decolonization, 1936-1965, by Elizabeth Leake. We hope you will be able to join us.