The Hon East India Company: Chinese Export & Chinoiserie
This lecture explores the way in which the East India Company developed its methods of trade. It shows how the 17th century textile trade with India established a methodology for sending out patterns to be copied by the artisans, replacing the original system of importing textiles that were native in design. The system of sending out patterns to be copied was the norm by the time the East India Company made inroads into China in the 18th century – a precursor of modern trading methods. The Company rapidly evolved its strategies, sending out several ships at a time to China and eventually setting up permanent settlements in Macao.
The currency and balance of trade is explained, and methods of production are illustrated with a number of Chinese export pieces, predominantly Chinese painted silks but also including furniture and porcelain. The lecture concludes with drawing the distinction between Chinese export and Chinoiserie, using examples made in Europe during the same period.
About the Lecturer
Vivienne Lawes studied History/History of Art at York University, followed by an MA in Fine and Decorative Art at Sotheby’s Institute, London. A lecturer, writer and curator, working in the visual arts field for the last 25 years, she teaches at several institutions in London and lectures on 17th and 18th century East-West trade, and modern and contemporary Southeast Asian art at Sotheby’s Institute and the Institut d’Etudes Supérieures des Arts (IESA), London. She is a Senior UK Consultant for One East Asia, a Singapore-based art gallery, art advisory and education centre, and has co-curated regular exhibitions of Southeast Asian modern and contemporary art in London since 2011. As an arts journalist she writes for publications including The Art Newspaper, Art + Auction, Country Life, the Guardian and the Antiques Trade Gazette.