People of Letters


As we embark on this journey in 2019 we do so during a time when language and labels, new and old are all under scrutiny for validity and accuracy. For more on this please visit the first provocation in our Academy.

We would like to give an honourable mention to someone who predates the span of our museum, the first recorded Chinese person in Britain Michael Alphonsius Shen Fu- Tsung. He was the son of Chinese Christian parents, who came to the court of King James II (1685-1688). Shen was the first person to catalogue the Chinese manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Oxford who have partnered us on our maiden exhibition voyage. He died in 1691. His portrait was painted in 1687 by the painter Sir Godfrey Kneller and still hangs in the Queen's collection.