Chinese Whispers: Chinoiserie in Britain 1650 - 1930

Brighton Museum and the Royal Pavilion: 3 May to 2 November 2008

China has fascinated the imagination of the West for centuries. The story of Chinoiserie in Britain is a dazzling example of contact between two very different cultures. English merchants who traded with China returned with silk, porcelain, tea and lacquer. These precious objects inspired local craftsmen to produce their own pieces using the whimsical imagery of an imaginary China. 

Chinoiserie is exotic, stylish, and above all fun. In a Chinoiserie interior, fantastic mountainous landscapes with fanciful pagodas and fabulous birds are peopled with exotically clothed mandarins and haunted by dragons and phoenixes. Brighton’s flamboyant Royal Pavilion provided a hot-house late flowering of the style and provided the inspiration and focus for this major exhibition. With loans from national museums and private collections, Chinese Whispers included some of the earliest Chinese and China Trade objects exported to Britain. It also displayed imitations of Chinese objects and furniture, ceramics, silver and textiles in a pronounced Chinoiserie style, from the late 17th century up to the use of Chinese motifs by designers in the 1920s and 1930s.

Press Coverage
National Press

The Times

6 May 2008
Large exhibition review by Rachel Campbell-Johnston with large photographs, and featuring ‘five unmissable pieces’ list.

17 May 2008
'The Knowledge' magazine - featured in the 'Top Five Museum attractions.

Financial Times

29 March 2008
Featured in an article on chinoiserie fashion by Edwina Ings-Chambers.

Daily Telegraph

13 May 2008
Review, with images, by Richard Dorment.

17 May 2008, and for following weeks
'Must see' exhibition listing - one of three selected by Richard Dorment.

3rd May 2008
Featured in ‘Forum’ section of Saturday Travel, with piece by Nigel Richardson and including a large photograph of the Royal Pavilion.

The Independent

13th June 2008
Review by Rhoda Koenig.

Guardian Guide

3 - 9 May 2008
Highlighted with image in the exhibitions listings. In listings in following weeks.

Sunday Times Culture

4 May 2008 and for following weeks
Included in ‘The Critical List’.

International Press

New York Times

5 September 2008
Feature on exhibition by Wendy Moonan, with photographs.


The Week

24th May 2008
Feature digest of articles from The Times and The Telegraph, with image.

BBC Homes and Antiques 

May 2008
Five-page feature by Serena Fokschaner, with several images.

Country life

24 April 2008
One-page preview by Philippa Glanville, with image of the Royal Pavilion. 

Museums Journal

Autumn 2008
Review of exhibition by Simon Stephens, with an image.

March 2008
Highlighted in a major feature on celebrations of Chinese culture by Simon Stephens.

House and Garden

June 2008
Double page spread and lead feature, with images, in exhibitions ‘Insight’ by Celina Fox.

Historic Houses Magazine

June 2008
Feature written by Noel Riley.

The Lady

29th April 2008
Double page preview by Philippa Scott, featuring five images.

Art Quarterly

Spring 2008
Five-page feature by Steven Parissien, including several large images. Also included in the exhibitions listings.


October 2008
Review of the exhibition by Philippa Glanville, with an image.

May 2008
Included in '10 to Catch' exhibition round-up, with an image.

The Burlington Magazine

October 2008
Review of exhibition by Matthew Winterbottom, with three images.

Asian Art

May 2008
Large Editorial, with photographs.

Victorian Magazine

June 2008
Feature by Liz Robinson.

Period Ideas

May 2008
Highlighted with an image in their double page spread ‘Inspirations’ section, devoted to chinoiserie.

Period Living and Traditional Homes

May 2008 
Featured in exhibitions round-up, with an image.

Antiques Magazine

Week ending 27th June
Featured, with an image, in the ‘Best of the Rest’ exhibitions listings. 

World of Interiors

May 2008 
In Diary section in May issue.

BBC History magazine

May 2008
Highlighted in exhibitions section.

British Museum Magazine

Spring/ Summer 2008
Included in exhibitions listings, with an image.

RA Magazine

Autumn 2008
Included in exhibitions listings, with an image.


24 Hour Museum

Large exhibition feature on website.

National Radio

BBC Radio 4: Front Row 

1st May 2008
Review of the exhibition.

BBC Radio 3: Nightwaves

24th April 2008
Feature and review of exhibition.

Regional Press

The Argus

25 April 2008
Highlighted in ‘The Guide’ section, with an image.

30th May 2008
Double page spread feature by Nione Meakin

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