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10 April 2019The Phoenix at the Fall of Empire
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The Phoenix at the Fall of Empire Anne Haworth Wednesday 10 April 2019

Three Empresses of China and the Fate of the Imperial Art Collection

In Ancient China, the phoenix, a bird of myth and legend, symbolised the Empress, consort to the Dragon Emperor. This lecture focuses on three individual Empresses who lived in the Forbidden City from the 18th century to the end of empire in 1911. Their history reaches back to a golden age of art patronage and expansion of the vast Imperial collection, through the opium wars and twilight days of Empire, to the Warlord era of the 20th century when the art collection was plundered by Palace eunuchs.

Anne Haworth is a lecturer at the V&A and guide for private tours of the State Rooms and The Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace. In autumn 2002 she catalogued a collection of Chinese porcelain at Kensington Palace and went on to be a Committee Member of the Porcelain Society. From 1981-1995 she trained and became a Senior Ceramics Specialist at Christies and Bonhams Head Offices, and from 1995-2002 she was resident in Shanghai.