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Leslie Grigsby

Westward Travels: An Overview of Exports from China

Monday, May 9, 2022

2 PM via Zoom

Many of us consider the Chinese export trade to the West as having begun with European and, later, American efforts especially from the 1600s onward, but the story actually began well over a thousand years earlier.  (Chinese silks are said to have had a presence at the funeral of Julius Caesar!)  This discussion sets a context for the movement of a broad range of Chinese goods--from spices, textiles, ceramics and other wares--since the time of the so-called Silk Routes through the rise of the East India Companies of Europe and America.

Leslie B. Grigsby, Senior Curator of Ceramics and Glass at Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, Delaware, joined the Winterthur staff in 1999 and is responsible for over 22,000 ceramic and glass objects.  She received her BA in Art History from the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana) and her Post-Graduate Diploma in Art Gallery and Museum Studies from the University of Manchester, England. Having begun her career at Colonial Williamsburg, Leslie has published extensively on 17th and 18th-century English ceramics.  In 2018, she couriered objects for and was a contributor to the Hong Kong Maritime Museum's The Dragon and the Eagle: American Traders in China.  Leslie also was instrumental in sending the 90,000+ objects in the Winterthur Museum Collection online.  

Leslie has curated numerous major displays at Winterthur including Uncorked: Wine, Objects & Tradition (2012) and Dining by Design: Nature Displayed on the Dinner Table (2018).  In 2020, she curated Icons of America: George Washington and Beyond, the loan exhibition for the Washington (Winter) Antiques Show.  She currently is working on a major exhibition celebrating the nations's 250th and Winterthur's 75th anniversary (2026).

Leslie lectures widely, throughout the USA, Canada, and the UK, as well as in China and Australia.  She a past president and current board member of the American Ceramic Circle.

Leslie Grigsby 2018_JIM5779.jpg

Porcelain ewer, possibly with arms of Portuguese Peixoto family. Jingdezhen, China, 1522-66. W. 9 in. (23 cm), H. 12 8/10 in. (33 cm), Diam. 5 in. (12.7 cm), 8 1/3 in. (Diam 21.5 cm). Victoria & Albert Museum, Gulland Bequest. 222-1931

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