Our lectures are normally held at the Society of Antiquaries of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BE at 5:45 pm for welcome drinks before a 6:15 pm lecture.  However, due to the Coronavirus, we have sadly had to postpone our planned events since March 2020.  We hope very much to reschedule all these events at a later date. 


In the meantime, we have prepared a series of online lectures for our members from July through September.  Our first lecture, given by past President Jessica Harrison-Hall on 15th July was entitled ‘China: A History in Objects’.  Peter White, our Vice President and Treasurer and long-time collector of Chinese ceramics will give a series of three lectures on Chinese pottery, stoneware and porcelain’.  His first lecture on 28th July covered the period 4000BC to 1125AD; the second on 11th August covered ceramics from 960-1368 which included the Northern Song, Southern Song and Jin and Yuan dynasties.  His third lecture on 25th August will cover the period 1368-1661 and will include the ceramics of the Ming dynasty and the period of transition to the Qing.  On 15th September  OCS Past President Rosemary Scott talked to us on Gifts from the Kangxi Emperor to his Grandmother.  

A link to the lecture will be sent to members by email in advance of the lecture.  We are recording all these lectures and making them available in the Members Only section of the website, for the benefit of members who are unable to join the live event.  (Please go to Members Area and input the same password as for our Transactions (TOCS) and our Newsletters).  No booking is required for these lectures.

The final lecture of this Summer series will be given on 29 September at 1:30 BST by  OCS Council member Dr Teresa Canepa who will talk to us on The reception and consumption of Chinese porcelain in Europe and the New World, 16th and 17th centuries

A few pieces of Chinese porcelain are known to have arrived to Europe in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, along the famous overland route, the Silk Road, that traversed the heartland of the Eurasian continent or by ship through the Persian Gulf or Red Sea to Turkey, Egypt and Venice. The great maritime voyages of exploration launched by Portugal and Spain at the end of the 15th century in search of the Spice Islands, culminated in Bartolomeu Dias’s discovery of a route to the Indian Ocean round the Cape of Good Hope in 1488, and Christopher Columbus’s discovery of the New World, four years later, in 1492, which opened up direct sea trade routes between Europe, the New World, Africa and Asia via both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. By the beginning of the 17th century, trading companies from the Northern Netherlands/Dutch Republic and England began to take part in the trade to Asia via the Cape of Good Hope and partly gained control of the Asian maritime trade. This online lecture will briefly examine textual, material and visual sources that provide information on the various types of Chinese porcelain that were imported to Europe and the New World in the 16th and 17th centuries, as well as the different ways in which they were acquired, appreciated and used within the respective societies.

Teresa Canepa is a member of the Council of the Oriental Ceramic Society, and co-editor of the OCS Newsletter since 2017. She completed a PhD in Art History at Leiden University, The Netherlands, and is author of Silk, Porcelain and Lacquer: China and Japan and their trade with Western Europe and the New World, 1500-1644 (Paul Holberton Publishing, London, 2016); and Jingdezhen to the World: The Lurie Collection of Chinese Export Porcelain from the Late Ming Dynasty (Ad Ilissvm, London, 2019). She has published a number of articles and lectured widely on these subjects.

Blue-and-white porcelain from the shipwreck Espadarte (1558)
Jingdezhen kilns, Jiangxi province
Ming dynasty, Jiajing reign (1522–66)
Photo by Anya Bartels-Suermondt


Our Autumn series of four lectures will also be presented online.  Full details will be emailed to members nearer the time, together with a link to the lecture prior to the date.  

Tuesday 13th October
Lecture sponsored by Duke’s 
18:00 UK time
Rachel Peat, Assistant Curator in non-European works of art at the Royal Collection Trust and editor of Japan: Courts and Culture (2020)
Japanese Ceramics in the Royal Collection

This lecture will the explore the rich and important Japanese ceramic holdings in the Royal Collection, setting them in the broader context of Anglo-Japanese courtly relations and the changing face of British royal furnishing.

From early export wares to rare diplomatic gifts, Japanese ceramics have long been displayed in British royal residences. Fashionable collectors like Mary II (1662–94), George IV (1762–1830) and Queen Mary (1867–1953) dramatically arranged pieces alongside Chinese specimens and European imitations. Many had arrived via Dutch East India Company ships; others were presented by shoguns or purchased by eager royal tourists. Such pieces were not merely admired, but often dramatically adapted in ways that reveal British perceptions of Japan and its art. Others were designed with European collectors in mind, indicating the connectedness of Japanese kilns from their earliest operation. Together, these examples chart 300 years of changing relations, tastes and techniques underpinning Japanese porcelain in Britain.

Rachel Peat is Assistant Curator of Non-European Works of Art at Royal Collection Trust, and editor of Japan: Courts and Culture (2020).

Japanese ceramics in this lecture feature in Japan: Courts and Culture, published May 2020. More details here:

Illustrations: Kutani, Kaga Province (now Ishikawa Prefecture), Jar (detail), c.1870–90, Porcelain, enamel, gold. RCIN 829.

Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2020


Monday 2nd November
Asia Week lecture sponsored by Sotheby’s and hosted by Sotheby’s London
18:00 UK time
Professor Lü, Deputy Director of the Antiquities Department at the Palace Museum, Beijing
Remarks on applying traditional appraisal methods when appraising ancient ceramics

Traditional appraisal methods have long been used in appraising ancient ceramics, but since they are rather difficult to study, in recent years people qualified to use them are few and far between, and thus gradually there has been a tendency to marginalise them.

The speaker will take four examples of ancient ceramics in the collection of the Palace Museum whose dating had been wrongly appraised, and will make use of traditional appraisal methods to evaluate them, correctly establishing their period, thus proving that traditional appraisal methods constitute a branch of study, one with scientific features based on good authority, and not a speculative, fake science. At the same time he will strongly stress that traditional appraisal methods certainly have limitations of their times, and that their theoretical basis was developed and gradually perfected over time. He notes particularly that when identifying certain historical top-level fakes, one cannot resolve the problem in an instant; rather, it is through the constant revelation of new textual and material sources, and through generations of steady efforts to deepen research, that the true historical features of such pieces can gradually be clarified.

Lü Chenglong, born 1962 in Longkou City, Shandong, graduated from Jingdezhen Ceramic College Engineering Department in July 1984. From 1999 to 2001 he completed an MA in Qing History jointly run by China People’s University and the Palace Museum. He pursued overseas research in Nagasaki,  Japan from August 2001 until March 2002. He joined the Palace Museum in July 1984 and has worked there ever since. His current appointments are as Research Fellow of the Palace Museum in Beijing, member of the Scholarly Committee, Director of the Department of Objects and Decorative Arts, Head of the Palace Museum Institute for Ceramics, Deputy Secretary of the China Ancient Ceramics Society, Postgraduate Adviser at the Jingdezhen Ceramic University, College of Art and Culture, Deputy Head of the Jingdezhen City Research Society for Ancient Oriental Porcelain, member of the Scholarly Committee of the Shaanxi Technical University Silicate Cultural Heritage Research Institute, member of the Advisory  Authenticating Expert Committee of the China Collectors Association, postgraduate supervisor for the Chinese National Academy of Arts, and postgraduate supervisor in the Antiquities and Museums Specialism of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

In 2006, Lü Chenglong was honoured as ‘an exemplary expert of the Ministry of Culture’. Since 2016 he has received a special government annual allowance. In 2017 he was honoured with the titles of ‘eminent culture figure,  and distinguished person’ in the ‘group of four disciplines’ programme, and ‘lead researcher in the national ‘ten thousand leadership programme’ in philosophy and social sciences’. In 2018 he was appointed a member of the 13th Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

Over many years, Lü Chenglong has pursued the authentication, display, and preservation of ancient ceramics. His research emphasises the particular features of modelling, decoration, bodies and glazes, firing technology and makers’ marks associated with each historical period of ceramics. He has published two specialist monographs, edited some twenty specialist publications, published over one hundred  scholarly articles and essays, and investigated tens of ceramic kiln sites. He is frequently invited to present at academic gatherings and to lecture in the USA, Germany, Turkey, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan.


Tuesday 10th November
Lecture sponsored by Lyon & Turnbull
18:00 UK time
Lu, Pengliang, Associate Curator of Asian Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Continuation and Innovation: Chinese Bronzes of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368)

Study of Chinese bronzes usually focuses on ancient pieces cast before the Han dynasty (206 BCE to 220 CE). Known as “later Chinese bronzes,” bronzes from the Song dynasty (960-1279) onward, however, have received relatively scant attention. These vessels tend to be treated as forgeries or imitations of archaic bronzes and are viewed as lacking true significance. But, these “later” bronzes actually played a much more significant role in China than is currently understood. The Yuan dynasty was a key era for later bronze production: it not only continued the traditional style, but also created a new fashion for the following dynasties. This lecture will explore the overlooked artistic and cultural value of Yuan-dynasty bronze works based on the speaker’s first-hand examination of works from archaeological discoveries and in global museum collections.

Pengliang Lu joined the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2013. He serves as associate curator of Chinese decorative art and has curated exhibitions on various subjects, including From the Imperial Theater: Chinese Opera Costumes of the 18th and 19th centuries (2016-17); Spirited Creatures: Animal Representations in Chinese Silk and Lacquer (2017-18); Children to Immortals: Figural Representations in Chinese Art (2018-20). Pengliang has published widely on Chinese metal works, ceramics, textiles, and literati objects.

Illustration: Vase with archaistic design (detail). Yuan dynasty (1271-1368), 14th century. Bronze. H. 15 1/2 in. (39.4 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Purchase, Brooke Russell Astor Bequest, 2014. (2014.449)


Tuesday 8th December
The Sir Michael Butler Memorial Lecture sponsored by The Butler Collection Partnership
18:00 UK time
Helen Glaister on “Collecting and Interior Design: The Ionides Collection of European Style Chinese Export Porcelain, 1920-1950.”  

The Ionides Collection of European Style Chinese Export Porcelain today represents one of the largest bodies of this specialist category of Chinese porcelain in the British national collections, now divided between the V&A and British Museum, but the history of the collectors and the collection remains largely unknown beyond specialist ceramics circles.

Focusing on the years leading to, during and immediately following WWII, this lecture explores the life of collection and collectors, Basil and Nellie Ionides, revealing their private motivations for collecting Chinese ceramics and art objects, and the impact of social networks linking them to fellow collectors such as Queen Mary, and collecting societies including the OCS, in addition to museum specialists, agents, advisors, dealers and auctioneers.  The relationship between collecting Chinese export porcelain and interior design during this period constitutes a key strand of enquiry, as part of the contemporary fashion for the Neo-Georgian, in which the collector/designer Basil Ionides played a significant role.

Helen Glaister is the Course Director of the V&A Arts of Asia Year Course and Senior Teaching Fellow at SOAS. She studied art history before specialising in Chinese art for her MA and PhD at SOAS. She formerly worked at the British Museum and Birkbeck College.


Illustration: Punch bowl decorated with Chinese and European motifs, porcelain with overglaze enamels and gilding, Jingdezhen, China, c.1760-70, D:35.3cm, Basil Ionides Bequest. V&A: C.22-1951. (©Victoria and Albert Museum, London).

Link to Previous Lectures