The Alexandria Association is the city’s oldest organization devoted to the preservation of Alexandria’s historic buildings, landscapes, records, and antiquities; and to education in the decorative, fine, and building arts.
Meetings are held at 8 pm
The Lyceum, 201 South Washington St.
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Monday, November 21, 2016
201 South Washington Street
at 8 P.M.
WILLIAM R. SARGENT
Chinese artists have depicted foreign merchants since the eighth century. Eighteenth century oil on canvas and reverse paintings on glass portraits of Western merchants are nearly uncountable. But only forty-one 18th-century full-length unfired clay portrait figures of non-Chinese men are known to exist. Each figure intrigues us with a portrayal of an individual whom we feel we could easily know.
Unfortunately little is truly known about the production of these figures and much of what is written is ill-conceived and repetitive in its assumption, particularly regarding the makers and sometimes the subjects. This research has been an effort to untangle the truth behind these small but majestic works of art.
William R. Sargent is an independent scholar and curator, a guest curator at the Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore, and an International Specialist for Bonham’s US. He was the former H. A. Crosby Forbes Curator of Asian Export Art at the Peabody Essex Museum and had been with that collection, considered the largest and most comprehensive of its type in the world, for over thirty-one years. He has lectured widely throughout the United States, in Australia, Canada, England, Portugal, France, the Netherlands, Singapore, Sweden, Macao, Hong Kong and China.
His numerous publications include Treasures of Chinese Export Ceramics from the Peabody Essex Museum (May 2012), winner of the American Ceramic Circle Book Award 2013, and the New England Museum Association 2013 Publication Award, Honorable Mention. His most recent book is of a private collection of Chinese export porcelain in Mexico City, The Conde Collection of Chinese Porcelain (Ediciones el Viso, Madrid, December 2014).
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“the Features are Esteem’d very just”
:Chinese Unfired Clay Portrait Figures 1717-1792
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