The 35th anniversary of Jorge Welsh Works of Art gives us an opportunity to celebrate our own 'porcelain people', the individuals who have, through their dedication, expertise and passion, helped and guided us on our journey of discovery through the world of cross-cultural works of art.
'Porcelain people' not only describes the theme of this year's exhibition, but also offers an opportunity to celebrate two groups of people who have been present throughout our 35 years of activity in the art world.
Firstly, the collectors, museum curators and independent scholars, experts, photographers, conservators, writers, fellow dealers, our own team and so many others, many of whom have become dear friends and to whom we owe a huge debt for their support, advice and encouragement, and an enduring companionship in what has proved and continues to be a fascinating and rewarding adventure.
Secondly, the 'porcelain people' who have, for over a millennium, produced the porcelain works, including those in this exhibition, that are so appreciated all over the world. We pay tribute to the quality of their work, their creativity, diversity and artistic merit, and to the role they have played in enlarging understanding and awareness among Chinese and European people of their respective cultures. These porcelains have brightened and enlightened our lives and will continue to play an important role well beyond their aesthetic qualities in offering insight into our common history.
For us, it has been an exciting but challenging 35-year-long journey, which saw us move from a modest stall in London’s Camden Passage to another in Portobello Road Market, then to Grays Market and a minimal office in Lisbon, and finally to our present two galleries in Kensington, London, and Chiado, Lisbon.
We also now operate under two separate umbrellas: Jorge Welsh Works of Art, the commercial side, which focuses on the sale of the cross-cultural works of art that emerged from the historical meeting of European, African and Asian cultures; and Jorge Welsh Research & Publishing, which focuses on non-commercial projects, such as curating exhibitions, funding a research and publishing programme, organising conferences and workshops, providing student scholarships, and collaborating with institutions such as museums in a host of different ways, including curating and loaning works of art to temporary exhibitions.
Porcelain People: Figures from the Qing Dynasty illustrates that commitment, which we owe to our peers and clients alike. Despite our exhibitions being essentially commercial exercises, with each piece on show for sale, we also treat them as scholarly undertakings. We always try to find a subject that has not been covered by other exhibitions or publications for a long time or, indeed, ever. Over the years we collect pieces that do justice to the subject at hand and undertake research to try to bring new information to the fore.
Thank you for accompanying us in this journey.