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Bushell, Stephen Wooton (1844 – 1908)

Stephen Wooton Bushell (1844 – 1908) was a physician and amateur art historian serving as medical attendant to the British legation in Beijing from 1868 to 1899. In part of this period he was commissioned to acquire Chinese ceramics for the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. His writings are widely cited in the later literature on Chinese ceramics.

Stephen Wooton Bushell (1844 – 1908) was a physician and amateur art historian serving as medical attendant to the British legation in Beijing from 1868 to 1899. In part of this period he was commissioned to acquire Chinese ceramics for the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. His writings are widely cited in the later literature on Chinese ceramics.

Bushell is best known for his books on Chinese art, and in particular Chinese porcelain. In 1883 he was appointed by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London to purchase Chinese porcelain on their behalf, and he acquired a total of 233 pieces for the museum.

Shortly before his retirement, and in the years following his return to England in 1900, he produced a number of important books on Chinese art, including two handbooks for the Victoria and Albert Museum, Oriental Ceramic Art (1897) and Chinese Art (1904), and a catalogue of the Morgan Collection of Chinese porcelains (1907), which at that time was on display at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

He also worked with Dr. George F. Kunz and Heber R. Bishop in writing producing the catalog of the Bishop Collection of Jade at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1906.

His final work was a book about 16th-century Chinese porcelain with 83 coloured plates, incorporating a manuscript text in Chinese by Xiang Yuanbian (1525–1590), a wealthy art collector from Jiaxing in Zhejiang province, with a translation into English by Bushell.

After his death, his widow donated his collection of ceramics, antique pottery sherds, ancient Chinese knife and spade coins, hanging scrolls, and various other artefacts to the British Museum

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