SOAS University of London

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

Timon Screech

MA(Oxon) MA PhD(Harvard)
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Timon Screech
Department of the History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts

Professor of the History of Art

School of Arts

Professor of the History of Art

SOAS Food Studies Centre

Member, SOAS Food Studies Centre

Centre for Gender Studies

Member, Centre for Gender Studies

SOAS Japan Research Centre (JRC)

Academic Staff, Japan Research Centre

Professor Timon Screech
Email address:
020 7898 4453
020 7898 4699
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Brunei Gallery
Office No:
Office Hours:
Wednesdays 4-5pm


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Professor Timon Screech - The Cargo of the New Year’s Gift: Paintings from London for Asian Rulers, 1615

Art history; social history; history of the East-West relations. Japanese visual culture; Edo period painting and prints; the Dutch Studies movement; Japanese language and culture of the Edo period; history of science and scientific illustration in Japan with reference to East West contact; urban history of Japan; history of Japanese art; sexual history of Japan.; contacts between Japan and Europe in the early modern period.


Courses Taught
PhD Students supervised
  • Lesley Pullen, The Representation of Textiles on Javanese Sculpture: 9th to 14th century
  • Noriko Horsley, Court Patronage and the Collecting of Art in 12th century Insei-period Japan
  • Radu Leca, The Backward Glance: Concepts of 'outside' and 'other' in the Japanese spatial imaginary of the seventeenth century
  • Terumi Toyama, The Replication of Sacred Spaces in Edo


Current Research

Timon Screech's main current research is related to the history of the English East India Company in Japan, and especially its dealings in works of art. He is book on the subject, The Cargo of the New Year's Gift: Paintings from London for Asian Rulers, 1615, is now reaching completion. He is also studying the deification of the first shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, and the cult established for him at Nikko. His major study of the arts of the early-modern period, Obtaining Images, Art, Production and Display in Edo Japan, was published in 2012.


Timon Screech received a BA in Oriental Studies (Japanese) at Oxford University in 1985 and completed his PH.D in Art History at Harvard University in 1991. He has been at SOAS since graduation from Harvard. He has published widely on many aspects of Edo period art and culture, and has written several books in Japanese and English. He has also been visiting professor of Art History at the University of Chicago, and guest researcher at Gakushuin and Waseda Universities in Tokyo. He was elected to a Chair in the History of Art in 2006.


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Available for
  • TV
  • Radio
  • Press
  • Briefings
  • Special Study Programmes
  • Short Term Consultancy
  • Long Term Consultancy
Regional Expertise
  • East Asia
Country Expertise
  • Japan
  • French
  • Japanese


Authored Books

Screech, Timon (2011) Obtaining Images: Art, Production and Display in Edo Japan. London & Honolulu: Reaktion Books & Hawaii University Press.

Screech, Timon (2011) Oranda ga tôru: ningen kôryô no edo bijutsushi [The Dutch Are Passing: Edo Art and Human Interactions]. Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press.

Screech, Timon (2009) Ningen kôryû no edo bijutsushi [Ningen kôryû no edo bijutsushi [Edo art and the exchange of persons]]. Tokyo: Tokyo Univ Press. (Forthcoming)

Screech, Timon (2009) Sex and the Floating World: Erotic Imagery in Japan, 1720-1810. 2nd ed. London: Reaktion Books.

Screech, Timon (2007) Edo no ôbushin: Tokugawa toshi keikaku no shigaku. [The Great Building of Edo: Poetics and Planning in the Tokugawa Metropolis]. Kodansha.

Screech, Timon (2006) Edo no igirisu netsu [Britain in the Edo Period]. Kodansha.

Screech, Timon (2002) The Lens within the Heart: the Western scientific gaze and popular imagery in later Edo Japan. Richmond: Curzon. (2nd revised ed.)

Screech, Timon (2000) The Shogun''s Painted Culture: Fear and Creativity in the Japanese States, 1760 - 1829. Reaktion Books (London).

Screech, Timon (1997) Edo no karada o hiraku (Opening the Edo Body). Tokyo: Sakuhinsha.

Edited Books or Journal Volumes

Screech, Timon, ed. (2006) Secret Memoirs of the Shoguns. Isaac Titsingh and Japan, 1779-1822. London: Routledge.

Screech, Timon, ed. (2005) Japan Extolled and Decried: Carl Peter Thunberg and Japan, 1775-1796. London: Routledge.

Book Chapters

Screech, Timon (2007) 'Owning Edo-Period Paintings.' In: Lillehoj, Elizabeth, (ed.), Acquisition: Art and Ownership in Edo-Period Japan. Warren, CT: Floating World Editions.

Screech, Timon (2006) 'Going to the Courtesans: Transit to the Pleasure District of Edo Japan.' In: Feldman, Martha and Gordon, Bonnie, (eds.), The Courtesan’s Arts: Cross-Cultural Perspectives. New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Screech, Timon (2003) 'Sex and Consumerism in Edo Japan.' In: Lloyd, Fran, (ed.), Consuming Bodies: Sex and Consumerism in Japanese Contemporary Art. Reaktion Books (London), pp. 6-34.

Screech, Timon (2001) 'The visual legacy of Dodonaeus in botanical and Human Categorisation.' In: F, W and Kasaya, K, (eds.), Dodonaeus in Japan: Translation and the Scientific Mind in Tokugawa Japan. Leuven University Press (Belgium), pp. 219-240.

Screech, Timon (2001) 'The Birth of the Anatomical Body.' In: Rousmaniere, N, (ed.), Births and Rebirths in Japanese Art. Hotei Press (Leiden), pp. 83-140.


Screech, Timon (2012) 'The English and the Control of Christianity in Early Edo Japan.' Japan Review, 24. pp. 3-40.

Screec, Timon (2005) ''Pictures (the Most Part Bawdy)': The Anglo-Japanese Painting Trade in the Early 1600s.' Art Bulletin, 87 (1). pp. 50-72.

Screech, Timon (1994) 'The Meaning of Western Perspective in Edo Popular Culture.' Archives of Asian Art, 47. pp. 58-69.

Screech, Timon (1993) 'The Strangest Place in Edo: the Temple of the Five-Hundred Arhats.' Monumenta nipponica, 48 (4). pp. 407-428.

This list was generated on Tue Apr 25 03:21:18 2017 BST.