November 2016, (24,5 x 30 cm), 3 volumes, ± 1296 pp. English text, ± 2.400 colour ills., hardcover.
The first ever catalogue on Chinese and Japanese works of art in the Royal Collection. Contains more than 2.000 individual objects and presents historically significant evidence detailing the trade of luxury goods between Europe and the East over the last 300 years. The Royal Collection includes some of the most historic examples of eastern arts now in the western world. With more than 2,000 items distributed among the royal residences in England and Scotland, this collection presents a rich cross-section of the porcelains, jades, lacquer and other works of art produced in China and Japan and brought here over a period of several centuries, reflecting the West’s long-standing appetite for rarities from distant lands. A striking feature of the collection is the mounting in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries of many objects in gilt bronze: the mounts themselves, made in French and British workshops, are often of superb quality and of great historical importance and will be published here for the first time. John Ayers is a specialist in Asian ceramics, having published more than 20 books on the subject. He was formerly Keeper of the Far Eastern Department at the Victoria and Albert Museum. This reference work was printed in a limited edition of 1.150 copies (750 + 400). Volume 1: This volume presents the Chinese ceramics of the Ming and Qing dynasties in chronological order (continued in Volume Two). In addition, due to their unique historical significance, the contents of the collection at Hampton Court Palace are presented here separately. Volume Two continues the works of the Qing dynasty, and ends with the Japanese works. The volume also contains a special focus on the European mounts that were added to works of Chinese and Japanese porcelain during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The final volume (3) contains non-porcelain works, namely lacquer, jade and other hardstones, carved ivories, textiles and metalwork. Many of these works came into the Royal Collection as Imperial gifts, to George III, Queen Victoria, King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, with the exception of the Japanese lacquer wares which were acquired for George IV, to furnish the Royal Pavilion at Brighton. Although not much studied, these pieces were certainly admired by the royal family and Chinese rooms were created at Windsor and Sandringham House, decorated with an eclectic mixture of European chinoiserie and authentic works of Asian art.