Curator of Chinese Art, Ashmolean, and Associate Professor of Chinese Art
My research interests are focused on the material culture of the Northern Song Dynasty (960–1127), and in particular the role of ceramics in articulating the relationships between officials, merchants, writers and consumers in urban and rural environments.
Shelagh Vainker is Curator of Chinese Art at the Ashmolean and Associate Professor of Chinese Art in the Faculty of Oriental Studies. She was previously Curator of Chinese Ceramics and Textiles at the British Museum. Other appointments include President of the Oriental Ceramic Society 2012–15, and J.S. Lee Memorial Senior Fellow 2012–13 (Beijing). She has published widely on Chinese art including books on ceramics and silk, articles on many aspects of the material culture of the Northern Song dynasty (960–1127) and a series of collection and exhibition catalogues on modern Chinese painting. She is responsible for three galleries in the Ashmolean: the permanent galleries China 3000BC – AD800 and China From AD800, and the Khoan and Michael Sullivan Gallery for Chinese Painting which shows two paintings exhibitions each year. She is literary executor of the estate of Professor Michael Sullivan.
Books and Exhibition catalogues
2016 Liu Dan: New Landscapes and Old Masters, Oxford, Ashmolean Museum
2014 Fang Zhaoling (1914–2005): A Centenary Exhibition, Oxford, Ashmolean Museum
2013 Landscape/Landscript: Nature as Language in the Art of Xu Bing, Shelagh Vainker, ed. (with contributions from Judith Goldman, Peter D. McDonald and Xu Bing), Oxford, Ashmolean Museum
2004 Chinese Silk: A Cultural History, London (British Museum Press)
1991 (2nd edition 2005) Chinese Pottery and Porcelain: from Prehistory to the Present, London (British Museum Press)
2017 Chinese Paintings in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, in Michaela Pejcochova and Clarissa von Spee, eds., Modern Chinese Painting and Europe: New Perceptions, Artists Encounters and the Formation of Collections, Berlin (Reimer Verlag)
2013 Lui Shou-kwan in England: the Contribution of Geoffrey Barker (essay) and catalogue entries in Josh Yiu, ed., Two Masters, Two Generations, and One Vision for Modern Chinese Painting, Hong Kong (The Art Museum, Chinese University of Hong Kong)
2004 Chinesische Malerei der Gegenwart in London, 1935/Modern Chinese Painting in London, 1935' in J. Birnie-Danzker ed., Shanghai Modern, Stuttgart (Hatje-Cantz)
2003 Luxuries or not? Consumption of silk and porcelain in eighteenth-century China in M. Berg and E. Eger, eds., Luxury in the Eighteenth Century: Debates, Desires and Delectable Goods, Basingstoke (Palgrave)
2012 Fu Baoshi in Chongqing: Some Paintings in European Collections, Arts Asiatiques (Annales du musee national des arts asiatiques Guimet et du musee Cernuschi, Cahiers de l’Ecole francaise d’Extreme-Orient), Tome 67, pp. 89–96.
2012 Northern Song Lacquer’, 中国漆器研讨会论文集 (Proceedings of Conference on Ancient Chinese Lacquer), The Art Museum, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, pp. 21–30
2009-10 Owning Ceramics in the Northern Song Dynasty: Thoughts on Who and How, Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society 74, pp.103–12.
2008 Ceramic Consumption in Northern Sung China: the case of the educated urbanite’, Wang Yaoting, ed., 开创典籍：北宋的艺术与文化研究讨会论文集 Conference on Founding Paradigms: Papers on the Art and Culture of the Northern Sung Dynasty, Taipei, National Palace Museum, pp. 777–95.
2005 Northern Song White Wares in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford in Li Zhongmou, ed., Proceedings of Conference on White Ware Ceramics, Shanghai (Shanghai Museum), pp. 506–18.