Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Chinese plant circulation in the 18th century - the John Bradby Blake project & Environmental Humanities

Revisiting intellectual history of Chinese flora in Britain offers new perspectives on current issues such as environmental impact. I recently wrote a blog post on 18th century British trader John Bradby Blake's project of collecting Chinese plants and bring them back to Britain - and its little known impact on environment for the Bristol University's Environmental Humanities blog here.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

"This Little Paradise": Aviaries in 18-19th century Guangzhou gardens

I am happy to have been given 4 pages to discuss 18-19th century Guangzhou aviaries in the latest issue of Historic Gardens Review! For now it is only a preview on their website and the physical journal, but in the future it will be available as an online article.

I notably included rare pictorial evidence of aviaries in Guangzhou and Macao, as well as comparisons with British vision of Chinese aviaries and their feathery inhabitants. I found that it was  a good way to capture the difference between chinoiserie and actual examples of Chinese garden buildings with contemporary evidence!

For a taste of what the article starts with, I invite you to read Patrick Baty's blog post on the aviary at Dropmore Park. The aviary as illustrated by Barbara Jones, was made with tiles from Canton and in a style reminescent of Chambers' chinoiserie, but surprisingly appears relatively close to what a late 18th- early 19th century aviary in Guangzhou or nearby Macao might have looked like.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

New topic, new talk! Botanical Art, Botanical Commerce: Britain meets China at the Dawn of Modernity

I only recently passed my viva for my PhD on Hong merchant's gardens in Guangzhou during and after the Canton System. While I am writing corrections, I already have started a post-doc on a closely related topic: Sino-Western botanic exchanges!

This will be my first talk as part of my new project:

Botanical Art, Botanical Commerce: Britain meets China at the Dawn of Modernity

Oxford, March 24th


Learn more about the botanical interactions between Britain and China in the 18th century in this talk focused on an exceptional as of yet underused primary source.
Former director of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew Sir Peter Crane, author and expert in the history of science, medicine and culture Jordan Goodman and expert in Sino-British exchanges and China Trade paintings Josepha Richard discuss the John Bradby Blake collection.
Crane is inaugural President of the Oak Spring Garden Foundation, Virginia, USA, which contains the archive of 18th-century East India Company supercargo John Bradby Blake. Blake first visited Canton in 1767/68 as a trader and, before his death in 1773, his collaboration with the Chinese artist Mauk-Sow-U produced over 150 striking and botanically accurate paintings of Chinese plants. These paintings and the associated archives provide details of an interesting life and previously little-known dimensions of late 18th-century social and scientific interactions between the British and Chinese, including British attempts to secure living plants that could prove useful at home and in its colonies.
The panel is part of FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival and will be introduced by deputy editor of FT Weekend Jane Owen.

This event is part of a series for FT day at the festival and lasts 45 minutes.

Book tickets here.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Program for the 2017 Chinese garden history conference

Yuyuan garden, Shanghai. Credits: Gu Liyuan

The provisional programme of our 26-7th October 2017 Chinese garden history conference in Sheffield is now available!

This event is organised jointly by the Gardens Trust and the Landscape Department in the University of Sheffield. Sponsors to be announced shortly.

Tickets are on sale from March 1st, follow the link here.

New Research on the History of Chinese Gardens and Landscapes

DAY ONE: Thursday 26 October 2017

10.00-10.25      Registration
Chair: Dr Jan Woudstra, University of Sheffield
10.25               Welcome
10.30                Dr Alison Hardie, Honorary Research Fellow, University of Leeds, UK
                        Chinese Garden and Landscape Studies in the 21st Century

11.00                 Dr Lei Gao, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, As, Norway
The concept of Paradise in Chinese Buddhism and its interpretation in designed landscape in Qianglong era (1736-1795)

11.30                TEA/COFFEE
12.00                Xiaoyan Hu, PhD candidate, Liverpool University, UK 
The dialectic aesthetics of Xu (emptiness) and Shi (fullness) in Chinese landscape art (landscape painting, landscape poetry, gardening) from the Six Dynasties

12.30                Questions and discussion
13.00                LUNCH

Chair: Josepha Richard, PhD Candidate, University of Sheffield
14.00                Dr Antonio José Mezcua López, Granada University, Spain
Hangzhou’s West Lake Research Proposal: The Song Dynasty (960-1279)

14.30                Professor Carol Brash, St John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota, USA.  Canonizing the Garden of Solitary Delight (Dule Yuan)
15.00                TEA/COFFEE
15.30                Dr Kate Bailey and Charlotte Brooks, Royal Horticultural Society, London, UK
The RHS Reeves collection of Chinese botanical watercolours: a story of people and plants in China and Britain in the early nineteenth century

16.00               Dr Lianming Wang, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg. 
Fountains and Jesuit Water Landscapes in eighteenth-century Beijing

16.30                Questions and discussion
17.00                CLOSE
Evening:          Conference Chinese dinner

DAY TWO: Friday 27 October 2017

Chair: Dr Alison Hardie Honorary Research Fellow, University of Leeds
09.55               Welcome
10.00                Dr Stephen Whiteman, University of Sydney, Australia. 
Post-histories and past formations in a Qing garden

10.30                Josepha Richard, PhD candidate, University of Sheffield, UK
East-West encounters in the Cantonese garden

11.00                COFFEE
11.30                 Youcao Ren, PhD candidate, University of Sheffield, UK 
FengShui Landscapes in the late Qing Royal Garden Design

12.00                Questions and discussion
12.30                LUNCH

Chair: Dr Sally Jeffery, The Gardens Trust
13.30                Zhang Yichi, PhD candidate, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia.
From Decoration to Necessity: the functions of Public Parks in the British Concessions of China, 1842-1937

14.00               Yuanyuan Liu, PhD candidate, University of Edinburgh, UK
The Modernisation of the Traditional Space during the Chinese Park Movement: Case Study of Xuanwu Lake in Najing, 1928-1949

14.30                TEA/COFFEE
15.00                Professor William Callahan, London School of Economics, London, UK. 
Cultivating Power: Chinese gardens as sites of diplomacy, war and peace

15.30                Questions and discussion
16.00                CLOSE

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Dates announced for the next conference on Chinese gardens & landscape! Oct 26/27th 2017

A conference co-organised by the Gardens Trust & the Department of Landscape (University of Sheffield)

 Featuring engaging talks by specialists in several aspects of Chinese gardens and landscapes (such as history, poetry, botany, social life, layout). 

The provisional program will be announced shortly!
Disclaimer: The previous announcement was off by one day, the conference is confirmed for 26-27th of October 2017.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Online review of 'The Classical Gardens of Shanghai' by Shelly Bryant

I am always interested in Chinese local garden history, which is why I reviewed the following book:

Bryant, Shelly. The Classical Gardens of Shanghai. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2016.

To read it please click here to go on newbooks.Asia.
The book is available notably through JSTOR and its publisher HKUPress.

Here is reproduced the short biography for Shelly Bryant available on the HKUPress website:
Shelly Bryant, poet, translator, teacher, researcher, and writer, splits her time between Singapore and Shanghai. She is the author of six poetry collections and two travel guides, and has translated more than ten books from Chinese to English.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Guest blog at China Policy Institute: on Chinese-style gardens and soft power

Fanghuayuan, Orchid Garden, Guangzhou. Credit Richard, Josepha (2009)

This time I am happy to have a blog post published at the China Policy Institute Analysis blog platform.

The title is "Are Chinese-style gardens built outside of China a form of 'soft power'?" and it was a question I had been wondering about for quite some time. 
Feel free to comment on the original post in order to advance the debate.

The China Policy Institute is a centre of expertise on contemporary China based at the University of Nottingham, UK. Their blog platform, "CPI Analysis" hosts almost daily reflections on diverse aspects of Chinese life, news, politics, economics, etc.