Lesley LAU 劉鳳霞
Public Museum of Hong Kong

A Survey of Chinese Export Paintings at The British Museum

Lau has been conducting research on Chinese export art for years and she has once been the curator of the Historical Pictures collection of the Hong Kong Museum of Art. Meanwhile, she is the J. S. Lee fellow of The British Museum and is studying the Museum's collection of Chinese export paintings. Lau's research focuses on the idea of "Trade-port culture" of the South China area during the 18th and 19th C and with a special emphasis on Canton (present-day Guangzhou). Canton was a "great and popular city" in the western's eyes and the most prosperous Chinese city for foreign trade. Playing the role as the gateway to China during the past hundreds of years, Canton had been contributing to the imperial China to enter the modern era. Chinese export art objects were brought back to Europe and the US by the western merchants and seamen who did China trade business. Chinese export art was a unique art genre - produced in large quantity mainly in Canton of China during the heyday of China trade, could only be seen in the western world now, seldom mentioned by the Chinese art history... Nevertheless, many invaluable and untold information have been enclosed in these paintings. These visual records may help us understand more in-depth of the past. Lau will make use of several themed albums of The British Museum, with cross reference to the contemporary English and Chinese texts, to show you her findings and views.