His latest book simply titled ‘Marks on Chinese Ceramics’ is the last in a series published over the past 35 years and is the culmination of his 60 year interest and study of this specific aspect of China’s ceramic history. He first became interested in these often enigmatic messages as a young dealer specialising in Asian art in London around 1960. As very little interest had been shown in these, and encouraged by his regular contacts with the late Margaret Medley, then the legendary curator of the Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art (PDF) located in Bloomsbury as part of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at London University, he started to compile detailed records of unusual marks and research their meaning and history.
By 1987 he felt he had enough research gathered to publish for the first time a small format guide to help dealers, collectors and auctioneers unravel these marks. The book was a great success and reprinted a number of times. Its success led progressively to more research and further publications in 1994, 2010 and 2013 each one building on a growing volume of material.
New for 2021 ‘Marks on Chinese Ceramics’ now contains details of almost 4200 individual marks in kaishu regular script or zhuanzhu seal script across 400 pages with English translations, pinyin romanisation and historical notes accompanied by a full colour section with images courtesy of Sotheby’s. Elsewhere on this site you will find the facility to purchase this new publication direct, as well as background material on the author (see About the Author) and his career as an international lecturer and dealer in Asian art. There are also details of his other diverse interests as an engineer and businessman.
‘Top marks for your new edition! Hugely expanded, crucially extended to cover 20th century ceramics for the first time, and handily cross-referenced for maximum usefulness, this is one of the very few reference books that is genuinely essential for anyone interested in Chinese-taste ceramics’.
Colin Sheaf, Global Head of Asian Art, Bonhams