San Francisco Ceramic Circle Illustrated Lecture 

"William Alexander and the Macartney Diplomatic Mission:
Chineses Scenes on Transferware"


Michael Sack


Former Board Member of the San Francisco Ceramic Circle, Member of the Transferware Collectors Club

Michael Sack
William Alexander Watercolor of Peking c.1793



9.30AM Sunday, January 21, 2018
Florence Gould Theater,
Palace of the Legion of Honor, Lincoln Park, San Francisco
Enter from the main entrance.
Doors open from 10:00 AM.
SFCC lectures are complimentary for Museum visitors

About the talk

The Macartney Mission in 1793 was the first British diplomatic mission to China. It is named for its leader, George Macartney, Great Britain's first envoy to China.

The goals of the mission included the opening of new ports for British trade in China, the establishment of a permanent embassy in Beijing, the cession of a small island for British use along China's coast, and the relaxation of trade restrictions on British merchants in Guangzhou (Canton).

Macartney's delegation met with the Qianlong Emperor, who rejected all of the British requests.

Although the mission failed to achieve its official objectives, it was later noted for the extensive cultural, political, and geographical observations its participants recorded in China and brought back to Europe.About the talk

William Alexander was the artist who produced drawings of the missions events on its two year journey.

These provided a new and exciting glimpse into Chinese life and customs.


About the speaker

Micheal Sack has been collecting English ceramics of the early 19th century for about thirty years.

His transferware collecting has focused on exotic scenes, principally depicting India, China and the Middle East.

He also collects the prints from which many of the transferware patterns were derived.

He is the author of India on Transferware

Next lecture February