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CANCELLED: The first Chinese books in London: the collection of Sir Hans Sloane

17 Nov 2011

By Dr Frances Wood, Curator of Chinese Collections, The British Library, on Wednesday 30 November 2011 (12.30 - 1.30pm) in The Kanaris Theatre, The Manchester Museum.

Due to disruption caused by strike action on this date, this event has been postponed. It is to be re-scheduled and the new date will be announced shortly.

The collections of Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753), physician to Queen Anne and the man who introduced chocolate to a grateful British public, were used to found the British Museum. He collected everything from natural history specimens (stuffed alligators from his time in Jamaica) to fine editions of the Bible and his printed book collection included a fine range of Chinese books from the late Ming and early Qing periods.

Many collectors of the time had single Chinese volumes as 'specimens' but Sloane's recently re-discovered Chinese collection ran from Buddhism and Confucianism through geography to literature and painting manuals, most collected for him in China by members of the East India Company who did not know a word of the language.