Louis A. and Frances B. Wagner Lecture: Collecting Chinese Art at the British Museum: From the Age of Enlightenment to Modern Times

Sunday, March 24, 2013
3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.



Flower Basket; China, Suzhou, Ding Workshop; Qing dynasty, 18th century; Woodblock print in ink on paper; British Museum, 1906,1128,0.3

Asian Art has been collected at the British Museum since its founding year in 1753. The lecture will introduce great collectors of Chinese art at the British Museum. With a special focus on Chinese prints and paintings, the lecture will further present major acquisitions that enriched the museum’s collections throughout its history of over 250 years. One of the more remarkable highlights in the collections include Sir Hans Sloane’s Chinese color prints, the famous Admonitions scroll painting and Aurel Stein’s finds from his Silk Road expeditions in 1906-7.

Clarissa von Spee is Curator of the Chinese paintings, calligraphy and prints and the Central Asian Collections at the British Museum. She received her Ph.D. from Heidelberg University. Dr. von Spee studied East Asian Art History, Sinology, and European Art History in Heidelberg, Paris and Taipei. Before she joined the British Museum in 2008, she was Assistant Professor for East Asian Art History at Heidelberg University and Research Assistant at the Museum of East Asian Art in Cologne. Her publications include Wu Hufan – A Twentieth Century Connoisseur in Shanghai (2008), The Perfect Brush: Chinese Painting 1300-1900 (2010) and the exhibition catalogues The Printed Image in China from the 8th to the 21st Centuries (London 2010) and Modern Chinese Ink Paintings. A Century of New Directions (London 2012).


This lecture is made possible by generous support from Louis A. and Frances B. Wagner.

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