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Collecting, connoisseurship and commerce: an examination of the life and career of Stephen Wootton Bushell (1844-1908)

Oriental Ceramic Society
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  • Ct Biography


Pearce, N. (2005) Collecting, connoisseurship and commerce: an examination of the life and career of Stephen Wootton Bushell (1844- 1908). Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society, 70 . pp. 17-25. ISSN 0306-0926 Deposited on: 06 April 2010 Enlighten – Research publications by members of the University of Glasgow C orrgcrlNc, C oxxol s s EURSHIp AND C otvtvtBRcE : AN ExaMrNATroN oF THE LrpB AND CanBBR oF SrBpuBN WoorroN BusnpLL ( 1844-1908) Lecture given by Nick Pearce on Tuesday 29 November 2005 7-ffh" name of Stephen Bushell will be more than familiar to members of this Society. I Although dead for nearly a century, his contribution to British scholarship in the area of I Chinese ceramics in particular is still recognised and his major works on the subject, such as Oriental Ceramic Art and Description of Chinese Pottery and Porcelain, are still quoted.l In the broader context there is his two-voltme Chinese Art, ftst published in 1904 and 1906 respectively by the Victoria &Albert Museum, as a 'Handbook'to its collections and which was reprinted in 1907 , revised and republished in 1909 and reprinted againinthe decades following. In fact, as Craig Clunas has pointed out, the Handbook was still in print some ninety years after it first appeared.z Even a French edition was prepared: L'Art Chinozs, translated by H. d'Ardenne deTizac and published in Paris in 1910. Although much has been written about aspects of Stephen Bushell's published work and of his association with the Victoria & Albert Museum both as agent and as author, little has been written about his life or, indeed, his other activities. I have already sketched some aspects of his life and work in a recent book that deals with a collection of photographs of Beijing once owned by Bushell and I have drawn upon this research when discussing his art collecting for institutions, private individuals and on his own account.3 However, this

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