Museums in the UK specialising in art of East Asia

UK Museums Specialising in East Asian Art

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The National Museum of Scotland  Photo Paul Harris

A large number of museums in the UK boast relatively small collections of Asian art. This is a list of those museums with large and significant collections.

  BATH  The Museum of East Asian Art, 12 Bennett Street, boasts a large collection of objects based around the personal collection of Brian McElney, a solicitor who practised in Hong Kong: Chinese ceramics, metalware, jade and bamboo carvings.

CAMBRIDGE The Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street  Founded in 1816 by Richard, 7th Viscount Fitzwilliam is the art museum of the University of Cambridge.

COMPTON VERNEY  Compton Verney House, Compton Verney, Warwickshire boasts the largest collection of Chinese bronzes in the UK outside of London.

DURHAM  Durham University Oriental Museum, Elvet Hill  Opened in 1960, this museum is devoted to the arts of Imperial Japan, China and other East Asian countries. A recently opened gallery is dedicated to China in the 20th century. Exhibits on the Silk Route and the Imperial Court, as well as sculptures, ceramics, paintings and jades.

EDINBURGH  The National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street is located in the centre of the city and has been substantially refurbished in recent times. It boasts a large 5th floor gallery showcasing items from China, Japan and Korea. It has collected porcelain and other arts since the opening of the Museum in the middle of the 19th century. An important exhibition of Ming Dynasty art from June 27 2014.

GLASGOW  The Burrell Collection Pollok Country Park, 2060 Pollokshaws Road  The Burrell Collection is home to the vast number of artistic works (some 8,000)  put to together by shipping magnate Sir William Burrell. Includes a collection of Chinese Neolithic burial urns and other items.

HULL  Hull University Art Collection, Cottingham Road. An important collection of Chinese ceramics spanning the period 618-1850 on long-term loan from Dr & Mrs Peter Thompson. Unfortunately, the collection was closed to public view on June 8 2014 but is expected to reopen in September or October.

LONDON  The British Museum has a number of galleries specialising in the arts and archaeology of East Asia. It is an important collection much boosted by the acquisition of the 1700-piece Sir Percival David Collection of Chinese ceramics, which includes many items of Imperial quality. See our list of forthcoming/current exhibitions.

LONDON  The Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, possesses a substantial collection of Oriental art.

MAIDSTONE  The Maidstone Museum & Bentlif Art Gallery, St Faith’s Street Located in an Elizabethan manor house, the museum has a significant Japanese collection.

OXFORD  The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, Beaumont Street  Possesses a very large collection of Chinese art and artefacts and benefits from its long term connection with the late Professor Michael Sullivan who has bequeathed his own extensive collection of Chinese paintings.

SONY DSC ‘Heaped and piled’ 16th century Chinese fish bowl in The National Museum of Scotland

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