SOAS University of London

About SOAS

Dr Frances Wood

Frances Wood

Dr Frances Wood followed a pre-diploma course at Liverpool College of Art 1966-1967 and studied Chinese at Newnham College, Cambridge, 1967-1971. She spent 1975-1976 at Peking University following a worker-peasant-soldier student course in Chinese history and wrote her PhD on traditional domestic architecture in Peking 1860-1930 (Percival David Foundation,1984).

Dr Wood worked for a year in the Department of Printed Books in the British Museum before moving to SOAS in 1972 to work in the Chinese section of the Library with John Lust until 1977. She joined the British Library and worked in the Chinese section there until 2013. She taught Chinese language classes in the Polytechnic of Central London, gave lectures in the British Museum on the Chinese collections and travelled the country with Professor Hugh Baker lecturing on contemporary China for the SOAS extra-mural department. In recent years she has lectured on Chinese architecture and book history in the V&A, the British Museum, the Royal Academy of Arts, Sotheby’s and Christie’s education departments and for the SOAS Post-Graduate Diploma in Asian Art and SOAS specialist art courses.

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Dr Frances Wood, Honorary Doctorate, 2015 Graduation

She has written a number of books on Chinese history and culture, including Stones of the Wall 1986 (a translation of a novel by Dai Houying), The Blue Guide to China (1990, 2002), Did Marco Polo Go To China? (1995), No Dogs and Not Many Chinese: Treaty Port life in China 1843-1943, (1998), Hand Grenade Practice in China: my part in the Cultural Revolution (2000),The Diamond Sutra: the story of the world’s earliest dated printed book (2010), Picnics Prohibited: diplomacy in a chaotic China during the First World War (2014), and contributed to other works including (with Andrew Lo, Wang Tz’u-cheng and Song Jiayu) Export Paintings in the British Library (2011).