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Glaister, Helen (2021) Collecting and Display in Public and Private: A Biography of the Ionides Collection of European Style Chinese Export Porcelain, 1920-1970. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00035941

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Abstract

This thesis constructs a biography of the Ionides Collection of European style Chinese export porcelain; a collection previously unknown beyond specialist ceramic circles, but one whose objects have defined this sub-field of Chinese ceramics. Focusing on the years preceding, during and after the Second World War, this thesis investigates the appeal of art objects which materialise Sino-European cultural and commercial encounters of the long eighteenth century to twentieth century collectors, Basil and Nellie Ionides and the national museums of Britain, revealing shifting attitudes towards Chineseness, Britishness and identity politics. The life of the Ionides Collection is considered in two distinct phases in order to explore the transformations which occurred, not only in the shape of the collection, but in the meaning of objects as they were (re)classified, displayed and interpreted in a variety of temporal and spatial contexts. First, in the private sphere of the Ionides, through their personal biographies and the historical lived interior at Buxted Park, the relationship between collecting Chinese export porcelain and interior design is explored, as part of the contemporary fashion for the Neo-Georgian, in which the collector/designer Basil Ionides played a significant role. The study of social networks linking the collectors to agents and advisors, dealers, auctioneers and museum specialists brings into focus the dynamics of collecting during this period, the taste of the Ionides and their self-fashioning as collectors. In the public sphere of the museum, the Ionides Collection embarked on the second phase of its life, resulting in the formation of ‘micro-collections’ at the V&A and British Museum, each situated within established museum taxonomies of Chinese art, Chinese ceramics and Chinese export art and subject to post-war innovations then taking shape. This thesis considers the relationship between private collector and national museum, highlighting the impact of key actors and institutional practice which defined the status of European style Chinese export porcelain and in turn the Ionides Collection at the heart of this study.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses
Supervisors Name: Stacey Pierson
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00035941
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2021 15:45
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/35941

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