SOAS University of London

Department of the History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts

Helen Glaister

BA (Leeds), MA (SOAS)
  • Teaching
  • Research


Staff Silhouette
Helen Glaister
Email address:
Thesis title:
Collecting in Public and Private: The Ionides Collection of Chinese Export Porcelain, 1920-1970
Year of Study:
Internal Supervisors


An art historian specialising in Chinese Ceramics and Decorative Arts, Helen's career has straddled the museum world and academia, including positions at the British Museum, Birkbeck College and the V&A.

PhD Research

Taking the Ionides Collection of Chinese Export Porcelain as its primary focus, this thesis maps the movement of objects from the private to the public sphere, in so doing explores the dynamics of collecting and the transformations of meaning across time and space.

The relationship between collector, dealer and national museum will be studied through extensive archival research, questioning the role of personal networks in shaping emerging trends of art appreciation and taste.

The display of Chinese porcelain in the private interior during the interwar years will be contrasted with the public display of Chinese art objects in the national museum, highlighting shifting attitudes to Chinese Art and the role of the museum in shaping art historical discourse.


  • 'From Buxted Park to South Kensington and beyond: the Ionides Collection of Chinese Export Porcelain', Private Collecting and Public Display: Art Markets and Museums, Centre for the Study of the Art and Antiques Market, School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, University of Leeds. 30-31 March, 2017.
  • ‘Interior Design, Collecting and Display: The Ionides Collection of Chinese Art, at ‘Creating Markets, Collecting Art’, Christies, London, 14-15 July 2016.


  • Oriental Ceramic Society


  • Course Tutor and Lecturer, China Module, Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art, SOAS
  • Course Director and Lecturer, V&A Arts of Asia Year Course


  • Chinese Export Porcelain
  • Qing Decorative Arts
  • Collecting and Display