UK Museums Specialising in East Asian Art
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.
‘Heaped and piled’ 16th century Chinese fish bowl in The National Museum of Scotland