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Japanese Ceramics in the Royal Collection

Oriental Ceramic Society

Japanese Ceramics in the Royal Collection by Rachel Peat, Assistant Curator of Non-European Works of Art at the Royal Collection Trust.

This lecture will the explore the rich and important Japanese ceramic holdings in the Royal Collection, setting them in the broader context of Anglo-Japanese courtly relations and the changing face of British royal furnishing.

From early export wares to rare diplomatic gifts, Japanese ceramics have long been displayed in British royal residences. Fashionable collectors like Mary II (1662–94), George IV (1762–1830) and Queen Mary (1867–1953) dramatically arranged pieces alongside Chinese specimens and European imitations. Many had arrived via Dutch East India Company ships; others were presented by shoguns or purchased by eager royal tourists. Such pieces were not merely admired, but often dramatically adapted in ways that reveal British perceptions of Japan and its art. Others were designed with European collectors in mind, indicating the connectedness of Japanese kilns from their earliest operation. Together, these examples chart 300 years of changing relations, tastes and techniques underpinning Japanese porcelain in Britain.

Rachel Peat is Assistant Curator of Non-European Works of Art at Royal Collection Trust, and editor of Japan: Courts and Culture (2020).

Japanese ceramics in this lecture feature in Japan: Courts and Culture, published May 2020. More details here: