OCS Visits 2019

OCS Tour North East England 3rd – 7th June 2019

We visited the Berwick Museum where we had a handling session and viewed a variety of items in storage which had been left to the museum by the Scottish shipping magnate Sir William Burrell. The bulk of the collection became the Burrell Collection in Glasgow, but a few items found their way to Berwick.

In the afternoon we visited Alnwick Castle, the home of the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland. The scale and grandeur of the castle combined with the impressive collections made for a very interesting visit.

The next morning we visited Cragside Hall which was the former home of Lord and Lady Armstrong and was the first house in the world to be powered by hydroelectric power.  We found an unusual Japanese blue and white plate depicting scenes of porcelain production.  The gardens were well worth  the visit with some of our members dwarfed against the enormous trees which must be among some of the largest in England.

In the afternoon we visited Wallington Hall where we viewed one of the largest collections of Chinese porcelain in the North of England. We also had a handling session. Two items of interest were a Ming blue and white dish, from the reign of the Yongle Emperor, which had been in the collection of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan; and a Transitional wucai dish decorated with four dragons. Both had been brought to England from Lucknow in 1859.

The next day we visited the Bowes Museum where we had a guided tour of the collections and inspected some pieces of interest from the collections.

In the afternoon we visited Raby Castle the ancient home of the Neville family. Here we viewed another impressive collection of Chinese porcelain, but the highlights were the pair of Chinese porcelain pagodas from the Qianlong period which were even bigger than the tallest members on our trip.

On the final day we visited the Oriental Museum in Durham where we viewed their sumptuous collections and had an incredible handling session of rare and interesting pieces.

We then crowned it all with a visit to Durham Cathedral.

We wish to thank all the curators, guides and other staff at the properties we visited for a spectacular  trip.

Raby Castle

Arriving at Raby Castle

The porcelain pagodas at Raby Castle

Afternoon at National Trust Wallington

Handling session at the Durham Oriental Museum

The team outside the Berwick Museum

OCS Visit to Madrid, Spain

September 2018

This was an incredible trip to Madrid and the surrounding area.

We visited the Museum of Decorative Arts, the Naval Museum, the Archaeological Museum and the Royal Palace in Madrid.

Outside of Madrid we visited the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso and the Royal Palace of Aranjuez.

We also visited the city of Toledo, the Museo Nacional de Escultura in Valladolid and the Oriental Museum at the Royal College of the Augustinian Fathers, also in Valladolid.

We wish to thank all the curators, translators and organisers of this trip.

Special thanks to the Friends of the Museum of Decorative Arts for giving us churros and hot chocolate during our visit.

Special thanks to Ms. Pilar Benito García, Chief of Conservation Services at the Royal Palaces.

Finally, to Cinta Krahe and her family a very special thanks for kindly inviting us to their home and for giving us the most marvellous lunch.

The Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso



OCS Visit to Dresden, Germany

11th-15th June 2018

Our visit to museums and galleries in Dresden coincided with an international conference organised by the Porzellansammlung, Dresden (Porcelain museum). 

This two day conference was titled “Porcelain Circling the Globe: International Trading Structures and the East Asian Collection of Augustus the Strong (1670-1733).

We also visited the Green rooms and the Turkish chamber in Dresden Castle, as well as Pillnitz Palace. On our final day we visited the Meissen museum in Meissen and the Grassi museum in Leipzig.

Pillnitz Palace, Dresden

Chinese soldier vases, Porzellansammlung, Dresden

Meissen Porcelain at the Porzellansammlung Dresden

OCS Visits 2017

OCS Visit to Swedish Collections in Stockholm                                                                          

30th May to 2nd June 2017

We met the Swedish Oriental Ceramic Society for a lecture on Chinese Imperial glass of the Qing Dynasty given by Dr Shelly Xue on Tuesday 30th May. On Wednesday we visited the Ethnographic museum, the museum of East Asian art for a handling session and Stockholm’s Auktionsverk to view their sale. On Thursday we took a ferry ride which allowed us to explore the archipelago before stopping off at Drottingholm Palace and the Chinese Pavilion. On Friday we visited Bukowski’s auction for another handling session followed by a tour of the Hallwyl Collection and finally we visited the Riddarhuset House of Nobility to view their collection of Chinese export porcelain with Swedish armorials. We had good weather for most of the trip, the food was delicious, the Swedes were wonderful and spoke perfect English and all the members enjoyed themselves.

Outside the Ethnographic Museum

On the steps of the Chinese Pavillion

Lunch at last

OCS Museum trip to Paris
5th-7th October 2016

We visited the Chateau de Fontainebleau which has been a royal palace for 800 years. It includes the Empress Eugenie’s Chinese museum which includes treasures from the Summer Palace (Yuanmingyuan) as well as other diplomatic gifts. The next day we had a guided tour of both the Musee Guimet and the Musee d’Ennery. The Guimet has enormous collections of art from across Asia with an emphasis on early ceramics and sculpture. We had a guided tour of the Asian and European ceramics collection at the Sevres museum. This was followed by a guided tour of the Cernuschi museum which also has a huge collection of Chinese, Japanese and Korean art.

Visit to Scottish Collections: 7th – 9th June 2016




We visited the National Museum of Scotland reserve collections and handled a number of items of Hirado and Japanese celadon formerly from the collection of David and Anne Hyatt-King. We then visited the Lawley collection and viewed among others early Chinese celadon, Ming cloisonne enamel, bronze and textiles. The second day we visited Newhailes House which has remained unchanged since the 18th century and viewed impressive examples of Chinese and Japanese ceramics, coromandel screens and lacquer ware. Then we viewed the Home Collection and saw Song jun wares, Yuan celadon, Ming and Qing blue and white, monochromes, bronzes and blanc de chine. Then we finished the day with a viewing of Lennoxlove House the home of the Duke of Hamilton where many rare works from Hamilton Palace and the Beckford Collection are housed. On the final day we viewed the reserve collection of the Burrell Museum in Glasgow followed by a tour of Pollok House to view their hoard of Chinese and Japanese ceramics.


Visit to Dutch Collections: October 21st – 23rd, 2015


A quote by Becky MacGuire (senior specialist in Chinese export art at Christie’s New York) who took part in this tour:

“I can’t thank you enough for all you did to make last week’s trip a wonderful experience.  It was a fantastic opportunity to see a tremendous amount of great Chinese export porcelain in its period context – and to see lots of other wonderful art, as well!  The group was terrifically congenial and all of the arrangements so thoughtful – you made it relaxing and pleasant, keeping us on schedule but also remaining flexible when that was called for. I have always noted OCS trips with great interest – and now I am truly a convert.”