SOAS University of London

The Cargo of the New Year's Gift: Paintings and Prints from London for Asian Rulers, 1614

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Professor Timon Screech

Date: 27 May 2008Time: 5:30 PM

Finishes: 27 May 2008Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Inaugural Lecture

Chair: Professor Peter Kornicki, University of Cambridge

Professor Paul Webley, Director and Principal of SOAS, will preside.

In his inaugural lecture Professor Timon Screech will discuss the voyage of the East India Company's ship The New Year's Gift and its intriguing cargo. 

The English East India Company was founded in 1600, and by 1613 had reached Japan, its 'furthest shore', opening trading stations, or 'factories', along the way. A recurrent dilemma was what to sell in return for the spices and textiles to be brought home. In 1613, an idea was hatched to sell pictures, and some 120 oil paintings, together with 100s of prints, were dispatched from London the next spring, aboard the New Year's Gift. This ship, with three fellows, sailed past the Cape, Sokotra, and Surat (the Mughal port), and then went on to Java, where its remaining cargo was transshipped to Japan, arriving safely in summer 1616. The story of this fascinating voyage, the cargo, and the effects it had along the route, has never been told before. As well as this lecture, it is the subject of a book by Professor Screech, now in the final stages of completion.

The event will be followed by a reception

Organiser: SOAS

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Contact Tel: 0207 898 4075