SOAS University of London

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

Professor Timon Screech

MA(Oxon) MA PhD(Harvard)
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Expertise
  • Publications


Timon Screech
Department of History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts

Professor of the History of Art

Centre for Gender Studies

Member, Centre for Gender Studies

SOAS Japan Research Centre (JRC)

Academic Staff, Japan Research Centre

SOAS Food Studies Centre

Member, SOAS Food Studies Centre

Professor Timon Screech
Email address:
+44 (0)20 7898 4453
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Russell Square: College Buildings
Office No:
Academic Support Hours:
On leave (2020-2021)


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.


PhD Students supervised
  • A Ram Park, A Comparative Study of Women's Buddhist Patronage in Joseon Korea and Edo Japan
  • Ai Fukunaga, A Different Type of Tea? British Collecting of Ceramics for Tea gatherings from Meiji Japan: the British Museum and Maidstone Museum Collections
  • Kulamitra David Zukas, Revealing the Religious Landscape at Bhaja, Bedsa and Karle, Buddhist Rock-cut Monasteries
  • Lesley S Pullen,
  • Naama Eisenstein, Reshaping Ideals: Visualising the Genpei War (1180-1185) in Early Modern Japan
  • Nicole Valentova, Art as a Tool: Comparative Study of the Centralisation and Manipulation of the Art Scene in Japan in the 1900s and in Korea in the 1920s
  • Shiori Hiraki, Onari: Art, Ritual and Power in Early Modern Japan
  • Yijin Kim, Art for the people and democracy: Socio-political Art Movements in Japan from the 1920s to the early 1930s


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 (2020) The Shogun's Silver Telescope: God, Art, and Money in the English Quest for Japan, 1600-1625. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Screech, Timon (2020) Tokyo before Tokyo: Power and Magic in the Shogun's City of Edo. London: Reaktion Books.

Screech, Timon (2019) Oxford History of Japanese Art. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Forthcoming]

Screech, Timon (2011) Oranda ga tōru : ningen kōryū no Edo bijutsushi = Dutch in motion : Edo art history of the exchange of persons. Tokyo: Tokyo University Press = Tōkyō Daigaku Shuppankai.

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) 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]. Tokyo: Kodansha.

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

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

Screech, Timon (2002) Erotyczne obrazy japońskie 1700-1820: przestrzeń przepływającego świata. Kraków: Universitas.

Screech, Timon (2000) The Shogun's painted culture : fear and creativity in the Japanese states, 1760-1829. London: Reaktion Books.

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


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

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

Screech, Timon (2002) 'Dressing Samuel Pepys: Japanese Garments and International Diplomacy in the Edo Period'. Orientations, (33) pt.2, pp 50-57.

Screech, Timon (2002) 'The Edo Pleasure Districts as 'Pornotopia''. Orientations, (33) 9, pp 36-42.

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.

Edited Books or Journals

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 (2019) 'Floating Pictures: The European Dimension to Japanese Art During the Eighteenth Century'. In: Sloboda, Stacey and Yonan, Michael, (eds.), Eighteenth-Century Art Worlds: Global and Local Geographies of Art. London: Bloomsbury, pp 53-71.

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. London: Reaktion Books, pp 6-34.

Screech, Timon (2001) 'The Birth of the Anatomical Body'. In: Rousmaniere, Nicole Coolidge, (ed.), Births and rebirths in Japanese art : essays celebrating the inauguration of the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Art and Culture. Leiden: Hotei Press, pp 83-140.

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


This list was last generated on Saturday, 2nd July 2022, 10:03 Europe/London.