Collections and Curatorial Connections
The Museum Consultant collated information related to Chinese export porcelain as a model for future development for other export wares, which includes a basic timeline, details of relevant societies, websites and people (curators and dealers) general object related reading and list of collections. This format is being extended for textiles as a database to connect extant Asian textile samples in museum collections with descriptions from East India Company order lists, beginning with the VOC and English East India Company. (See further report by Chris)
The collections network was kick-started via the first project workshop held at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford in July 2011, drawing together curators, dealers, independent researchers and historians to focus on Material Encounters of the East India Companies 1600-1850 which incorporated object -handling (lacquer, ceramics and textiles). Specialists from the Victoria and Albert Museum and British Museum, London, City Museum Gothenburg, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, Musée des Indes, L'Orient, and the Danish Museum of Arts and Design Copenhagen attended an intensive two days to concentrate on how objects traded by the various companies have been collected, issues surrounding manufacture and communication between East and West, the operation of the Private Trade, and East India Trade objects and the domestic interior. These contacts have been maintained throughout to consolidate an advisory network. In June 2012 the team visited the North of England which included a visit to the Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle to view examples of Indian cotton and Chinese silk, and handling of European and Chinese export ceramics on site with the relevant specialist curators.
Throughout the project the Museum Consultant posts notices of relevant exhibitions and events to help expand knowledge of the material culture of the East India companies. She has been able to provide specialist reading lists in response to student requests and guidance in connecting with curators.
Future work will focus on the textile database, supported by project members, and the development of a picture resource for the project team, collecting images for use in presentations, on the website and in the monographs and doctorate, from museums, auction houses and private collections to ensure that texts are supported by visual evidence where possible, leading to an enhanced appreciation of the qualitative characteristics of the commodities and materials traded.
Diary of Activities
11 November 2013 - meeting in London with Johannes Wieninger re: ‘East Asia and Europe in the 18th Century’ exhibition 2015 at MAK, link up with Trading Eurasia
31 October 2013 - Presenting a Study Day on the East India Company
with Margaret Makepeace from India Office, British Library, to Kendal Decorative and Fines Arts Society (see powerpoint 8)
25 October 2013 - Take Treasure Fleets undergraduates to Museum of Docklands and Archives, tutorials with Ph.D. students
24 October 2013- at Warwick for team meeting and discussion of chapters, meet Ph.D students
15 October 2013 - at launch of Navy, Nelson and Nation gallery opening at National Maritime Museum, acted as advisor
9-10 October 2013 - at Warwick for team meetings, particapte in Global History and Culture Centre paper and evening reception, presentation of revised book proposals and discussion of Goods from the east volume, sat in on Treasure Fleets teaching
4 September 2013 - Gave paper at ‘Enhancing impact, inspiring excellence - Collaborative approaches between archives and universities’ Conference at Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham, on the developing relationship between Univerisity of Warwick and UCL with North Yorkshire County Record Office and East India Company Sources.(see powerpoint 7)
29 August - 1 September 2013 - Gave paper at International Federation for Research in Womens’ History Conference, Womens’s Histories: the Local and the Global’ at Sheffield Hallam University, ‘’The most curious India hangings’ Women, Wallpaper and the Appropriation of the East 1740s-1840s’. (see powerpoint 6)
10 July 2013 - Gave a joint paper with Kate Smith on ‘The East India Company and the Country House’ for Attingham Summer School.
25 June 2013- Meeting at Warwick re:Textile Database training
31 May -1 June 2013- Attended East India Company at Home Mid-Project Conference, at British Library and UCL, gave paper on collaborative project with National Trust on Chinese wallaper (to be published February 2014) (see powerpoint 5)
May - September 2013 - Picture sourcing and editing for Goods from the East volume for Palgrave; reading and commenting on chapters for monograph series. Working on Collaborative Ph.D. projects with Clothworkers' Company, Goldsmiths' Company and Drapers' Company for 2014.
9th-10th May 2013 - Gave Paper at 11th Historic Irish Houses and Estates Conference, Castletown House, Ireland. Paper for EIC at Home project: ‘The East India Company at Home 1757-1857 Eastern Goods in the British Country House’ - made many contacts relating to Chinese Wallpaper in Irish historic houses. (see powerpoint 4)
2nd May 2013 - Meeting with Margaret Makepeace from India Office, British Library re: EIC study day giving together for Kendal NADFAS on 31 October. Basis for wider dissemination of information about the project.
1st May 2013 - Meetings at Warwick re Textile Glossary database etc.
29th April 2013 - Meeting at Goldsmiths' Hall, and with David Beasley, Librarian and Eleni Bide from the Goldsmiths’ Company re: collaborative doctorates. for 2014.
17th April 2013 - Gave Public Lecture: ' A Textile Tour of Kutch' to Friends of Swaledale Museum, about 50 in the audience, explaining textile processes and introducing Oral History Project (see evaluation forms). Mostly makers attended.(see powerpoint 3)
11th-12th April 2013 - To National Museum of Wales in pursuit of EIC connections. Welshpool Gold Cup made of Guinea Gold from West Africa, 1663 commissioned by EIC agent Thomas Davies from Welshpool; extensive collection of Chinese Export Armorial Porcelain - met Andrew Renton, Keeper of Decorative Art and Oliver Fairclough Keeper of Art.
15th March 2013 - Meeting at the Grocers’ Company in London, with archivist Pauline Siddall. Company founded as the Pepperers’. Working on ideas of how to take history of the Company forward from only detailed publication Pamela Nightingale, A Medieval Mercantile Community The Grocers’ Company & the Politics & Trade of London 1000-1485, Yale UP, 1995.
14th March 2013 - Attended Documents Morning at the British Library looking at EIC documents. Two tables of documents recording different aspects of a single EIC ship’s journey in 1749, from first investment to return home and slae of goodsat auction. Brainstorming how to present this information in an accessible way to the general public, and combine with pan European knowledge of the Trading Eurasia Team.
26th February 2013 - Preparing Textiles of Kutch Lecture
23rd February 2013 - Gave paper at York Country House Partnership Conference, King’s Manor, York ‘Country House Connections: Yorkshire, Scotland and India’, (see powerpoint 2)
8th-17th February 2013 - With Team in India. See notes from the visit. Participated in Oral history interviews and help with presentations of the Oral History Project
7th February 2013 - Meetings at Christie’s South Kensington re: project images for Textile Resource
10th 13th January 2013 - Assisted with Project Conference in Venice. Read paper for absent member of team, liased with curatorial and academic particpants
9th January 2013 - Meeting with Livery Company Archivists re Collaborative doctorates and EIC sources.
12th-14th December 2012 - Attended Global Commodities The Material Culture of Early Modern Connections 1400-1800 Conference at Warwick. Gave paper on behalf of EIC at Home Project, ‘Objects, Movement and Concepts of Home in Eighteenth-Century England’, networked. (see powerpoint 1)
27th November 2012 - Talk to Yorkshire Dales National Park group on exploring the Global and Local, presenting work carried out for Trading Eurasia -'the North and the East'.
20 November 2012 - Meeting at Grocers’ Company London, investigating EIC sources and collaborative doctoral possibilities with Warwick.
26th October 2012 - Met Trading Eurasia Team and Warwick undergraduates at Museum of the Docklands, London - a visit I organised to open up new resources. Talk and tour by Tom Wareham, curator.
23 October 2012 - Visit to Strawberry Hill, Twickenham - meeting with Kevin Rogers and conservation people, looking at EIC goods and connections of Horace Walpole. Assisted Kevin Rogers in developing ideas explored at Trading Eurasia Conference at Ashmolean 2011.
11-12 October 2012 - Particpated in AHRC International Network. Global Commodities: The Material Culture of Early Modern Connections, Workshop 4: ‘Producing Material Culture for Global Markets’ at V&A Museum, London. Viewed cotton textiles from store and attended papers, discussion of textile glossary database with Rosemary Crill
29th September 2012 - Gave paper at British Association of Local History Conference, ‘The North Riding of Yorkshire in an Age of Transition 1750-1820 The social and economic development of a rural couthy’ at Swinton Park, North Yorkshire - on East India Connections in North Yorkshire
7th-8th September 2012 - to Edinburgh with EIC at Home team for Scottish Workshop. Session in the National Library of Scotland, interesting collection of botanical information. Presentation by Sarah Easterby-Smith. Useful contacts for images and textile resources.
6 September 2012 - Visit to Aske Hall, home of Lawrence Dundas from 1762-1781 who had EIC shares and invested in several Company ships. Family records at NYCRO.
5th September 2012 - Meeting at North Yorkshire County Record Office developing links re: East India Company material held at this resource. This was begun in 2010 as part of the Trading Eurasia Project
28 June -1 July 2012- Organised and supervised Project Workshop at Swaledale Museum, Reeth - concentrating on post-doc book proposals, included visit to Bowes Museum, to see and handle porcelain and textile collections and discuss with curators Joanna Hashegan (Textiles) and Howard Coutts (Ceramics)
2 March 2012 - Attended East India Company at Home workshop at British Library
August -September 2011 - Setting up database of curatorial contacts for project
1-2 July 2011 - First Trading Eurasia Workshop, Material Encounters of the East India Trade 1600-1850, contributed to design, liased with Ashmolean curators to organise handling sessions and tours, contacted speakers, overall administration and follow-up
October -December 2011 - Attended regular reading groups and sessions in connection with project at Warwick