Porcelain Trade with China

Friday January 20, 2012 – 7:30 p.m. at the Almonte United Church Social Hall

Speaker: Kieran Broadbent

Topic: Porcelain Trade with China 


China has been producing fine porcelain since antiquity. When the first Europeans were able to bring back samples in the seventeenth century it brought about a revolution in manners and customs. The aristocracy resorted to startling means to acquire examples of this hitherto unkown form of ceramics while at the household level it caused a leap in general standards of dining. The lecture will explore the early history of development delineating various styles and emergence of designs and art motifs with examples as well as standardisation in production introduced at the Imperial potteries in Jingdezhen by the Emporer, Qian long. causing his name to become to this day the epitome of design. It will consider the all important quest for authenticity in collectables, the pitfalls and the enormous market in fakes. Consideration will also be given to european struggles to master the production technique as well as the art and design showing, at the same time, how the trade finally came full circle with the chinese catering to the western markets and adopting european paints and enamels. The impact of this trade has been so profound that today porcelain and its copies occupies an important position in many of our homes where it is simply referred to as: “china”.

Speaker’s Profile:

Kieran Broadbent was educated at the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies(SOAS) in Mandarin Chinese and did his M.Litt at Wolfson College Oxford in China’s Economy. He was an Associate Director at the International Development Research Cente (IDRC) here in Ottawa until retirement.

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