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Case study

Discovering Chinese and Japanese Works of Art in the Royal Collection

A look at the work that goes into the preparation of a catalogue

Conservator working on an eleborate hat-box

In 2016, Royal Collection Trust published a three-volume catalogue of the Chinese and Japanese Works of Art in the Royal Collection, written by John Ayers.

This film looks at the work of some of the teams who supported this publication behind the scenes, with the work of the conservation teams in preparing pieces for photography and inclusion in the catalogue.


Collection objects in case study

View these objects in Explore the Collection

RCIN 812

The pagoda with nine tiers, composed of seven hexagonal roofs of diminishing size with projecting curved roofs, the topmost being a high dome to which has been attached a tall, gilt-bronze finial passing through a gourd-shaped vase, a hexagonal canopy with pendent bells and a snake entwined arrow, piercing at the top a winged dragon. Although differing...


Pair of large jars with pear-shaped body on a high, spreading foot, the broad neck decorated with six chrysanthemum-bud bosses in brass below the cupped mouth. Five narrow borders of florets on a deep blue ground separating bands of lotus scroll with large blooms on a turquoise ground between the matching foot below and the mouth above, the borders and...

Pair of boxes and covers first half of nineteenth century
  • Bow Room North , Royal Pavilion [Brighton]
RCIN 26116

Large, oval-shaped box, with straight sides and three tiers, with a flanged rim to accommodate the tier above, and a shallow, flat topped cover. On a low, stepped base, bound with an iron hoop, attached to which is a close-fitting, flat, rectangular, iron handle, clearing the ends and top when raised. The whole lacquered black, and the outside and top...

RCIN 26082

A standing figure, evidently en suite with RCIN 26088, on a rectangular wooden base painted to resemble green marble, grasping in his right hand a long pole painted to resemble bamboo, which has attached to its top a shaped yellow plaque, painted within a green border with four Chinese characters in red, reading: 天官賜福 Tianguan cifu May the Heavenly...

Processes used in this case study

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Cog being picked up by tweasers