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New Lectures

Precious Imperfections: Ceramics with Rivets and Gold

Ceramics are hard, lustrous and useful, sometimes rare, costly and beautiful. They are fragile and disasters can strike in unexpected ways: as a trembling hand wields a duster in the drawing room of a grand country house; as a delicious dessert is prepared in the confectionery kitchen of an Ottoman Palace; or when a revered bowl which has passed through generations of owners falls to the floor during the Japanese tea ceremony. We can sympathise with the tears of a tired English housemaid when a matching set of treasured plates was reduced from six to five! Yet help for her was at hand in the form of skilled porcelain menders who, in the make-do-and-mend spirit of past eras repaired the damages with tiny metal rivets. In Japan, gold lacquer repairs are called kintsugi. When revitalised with intricate repairs and their unique histories of cracks and chips are outlined in gold, these tea ceramics connect with a philosophy known as wabi-sabi in which beauty can be found in the imperfect and incomplete. In contrast, Imperial China witnessed the deliberate smashing and burial of porcelain wares which emerged flawed from the kilns so they could not be seen by the emperors. We explore why some people in 17th Century Spain ate fragments of broken pottery! The lecture includes my original photographs taken in China, Japan and Istanbul.

Text © Anne Haworth, 2023

This lecture can now be booked by the Arts Society or other organisations.

A Chinese export plate with riveted repairs, front view

A Chinese export plate with riveted repairs, back view

Please click the title for more information on this lecture


Please contact me to make a booking or for further information on any lectures in the following six categories.

A new category of Fashion Lectures can be found by scrolling down to the end of this list. 

European Ceramics Lecture Titles

European Ceramics of the Renaissance

The Della Robbia Family, Sculptors and Potters of Renaissance Florence

Princely Courts and Porcelain Secrets

White Gold from Saxony: A History of Meissen Porcelain

From Vincennes to Sèvres: The Dawn of the French Royal Porcelain Manufactory

18th Century Sèvres and 19th Century Minton Porcelains: Comparisons and Contrasts

European Porcelain Figures of the 18th Century: A World in Fragile Miniature


Vincennes porcelain Bouquet de la Dauphine, 1748 and detail, in the Zwinger, Dresden


Altarpiece, The Assumption of the Virgin, the Workshop of Andrea della Robbia, 1486-1525, The Medieval and Renaissance Galleries, the V&A Museum


A Meissen dish moulded and gilded with scrolls and flowers in a rococo revival style, 20th Century


The porch of the cathedral of Pistoia with glazed architectural ornament by the workshop of Andrea della Robbia

The Arts of Magnificence Lecture Titles

Nicholas Hilliard and the Portrait Miniatures of Elizabethan England

Sir Anthony van Dyck, Portrait Artist and Silk Merchant's Son: He Held up a Mirror to King and Court

Gemstones, Crystals and ‘a Bushel of Pearls’: Bejewelling ‘This Sceptred Isle’
The Miseroni Family, Lapidary Artists of Milan and Prague
Treasures from Mines and Mountains: Magnificent Artistry in Rock Crystal
Glittering Masterpieces: European Snuff-Boxes of the 18th Century

Light, Lustre, Colour: A History of European Enamels

The Art of the Shell, an Object of Wonder from the Natural World
Tulipmania: a 17th Century Passion in Art, Gardens and Collecting
Delights for the Senses: Exquisite and Rare Vessels for Perfume
The Adoration of the Magi: A Tableau from the Silk Road and a Much-Loved Christmas Story

Bals Masqués: the Arts of Masks, Mystery and Pleasure


The ‘Eleanor’ Vase of Sasanian rock crystal in the Musée du Louvre, Paris


The Porcelain Collection viewed through illuminated windows at the Zwinger, Dresden


The Hall of Mirrors with chandeliers at the Palace of Versailles, 2017

Picture14 Bronze and Silver-mounted heli

Bronze and Silver-mounted heliotrope footed bowl with griffin handles by Ottavio Miseroni, Prague c.1620, Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg

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Rock crystal footed dish, The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

East Meets West Lecture Titles

Visions of Enchanted Lands: Chinoiserie in European Art and Design
From the Mazarin Chest to Madame Butterfly: The Fashion for Japan in Europe

Fine as Air, Green as Frost on Leaves: Works of Art in Rock Crystal and Jade

Flowers like Fire, Mountains so Blue and Rivers of Sprinkled Gold: Oriental Luxuries for European Palaces (also a study day)


19th Century English porcelain plate painted with an ‘Old Japan’ pattern

East Asian Art and History Lecture Titles

When the Hare Looked up at the Moon: Night-time Encounters in East Asian Art
The Phoenix at the Fall of Empire: Three Empresses of China and the Fate of the Imperial Art Collection
The Forbidden City: Unveiling the Secrets of China’s Imperial Palace
Art, Architecture and Style in Old Shanghai
The Chinese Gentleman as Artist, Collector and Connoisseur
Blue and White Porcelain
Porcelain for the Chinese Emperors
Dress in China: Sartorial Style from a Land of Silk


Chinese porcelain plate enamelled with dragons, phoenix and eight auspicious symbols


Scholars’ rocks in the Humble Administrator’s Garden, Suzhou, China, 2009


Chinese gilded and painted carved wooden frame with embroidered silk panels


Detail of a Chinese carved, painted and gilded wooden panel

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A Chinese blue and white dish with birds on flowering and fruiting branches, 20th Century


The Moon Hare or Rabbit, pounding the elixir of long life, detail of a Chinese Embroidered panel in the V&A Museum, London


Jade plaque in the Shanghai Museum,(Shanghai Bowuguan)

Colours of the lake at the Suzhou Museum

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18th Century jade vessel for the scholar's desk at the Suzhou Museum


Roofs at Yu Garden


Rooftops at Jade Buddha Temple, Shanghai 

Fashion Lectures

In the Mood for Enchantment: Spellbinding Beauty in Parisian Couture 

Cristóbal Balenciaga and the Couturiers of 20th Century Spain

Princesses, Pyjamas and Palazzi: a Golden Age of Italian Alta Moda

From Clothing Coupons to Classic Couture: Thrift and Elegance in Three Decades of British Fashion

I have given many private tours in the fashion gallery at the V&A as well as introductory lectures about all of the fashion exhibitions held in recent years at the Museum.  

Carlos Place in Mayfair Olivia this is t

Carlos Place in Mayfair

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