The Henley Arts Society – Henley Standard


THE Arts Society Henley continues its excellent and exciting program on Thursday 17 February when David Rosier will speak on ‘Chinese Imperial Court and Portraiture: Emperors, Ancestors and Jesuits’.

David says: “This lecture explores the origins and evolution of paintings created specifically for the Emperor by dedicated court artists organized within the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts.

“Court portraiture, however, was never accepted by scholars as a genre of classical Chinese art.

“Nevertheless, Imperial art fulfilled a vital role in regard to court protocol as well as the rituals and ceremonies that determined the Imperial lunar calendar.

“Traditional Chinese painting mainly featured landscapes. Court art, however, evolved to focus more on portraits of the emperor and his family, which were used for rituals and possibly ancestor worship.

“Furthermore, emperors commissioned illustrated paintings and scrolls (recording court life and epic tours within the empire) as a means of promoting personal authority and the power and splendor of the court .

“After tracing the evolution of court art from the first Chinese dynasty, Qin (221-206 BC), to the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), the lecture then focuses on the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) and the revolution that took place under the patronage of Emperor Qianlong (1735-1796), where Chinese artists were ordered to collaborate, not only with Asian painters, but also with artists Europeans of “classical” training who came to the Chinese court initially as Jesuit missionaries.

“Eighteenth-century court painting would adapt the conventions of Chinese painting and incorporate Western realism and precision of perception into imperial art.

“The exceptional artistry of this period created a legacy that would impact painting styles until the fall of Imperial rule in 1911 and beyond.”

David Rosier is a licensed insurer and member of the Assurance Medical Society with a specialization in medical risk assessment.

He spent 25 years working in Asia as an author and lecturer. While in Hong Kong, he collected an extensive collection of imperial and related costume textiles and accessories.

Since returning to the UK, David has lectured extensively on Qing dynasty Chinese court costume as well as the history, culture and arts of Imperial China.

He is an accredited lecturer for the Arts Society and regularly lectures in the UK, Europe and Asia.

David also regularly contributes to publications such as China eye and oriental art as well as several textile publications.

The meeting will take place in the ballroom of the Phyllis Court Club (no need to be a club member) and begins at 10:45 a.m. and repeats at 2:15 p.m.

Visitors and new members are welcome to join us. We are asking for a donation of £10 for the conference. The morning conference will also be broadcast via YouTube.

For more information or to reserve a place, please send an e-mail to monnik.vleugels@

Monnik Vleugels


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