Curator of Japanese Art

Dr Clare Pollard

Dr Clare Pollard

Oriental Institute page

Research summary
My main area of research is the decorative arts of the Meiji era (1868–1912), in particular the work of the versatile potter Miyagawa Kozan (1842–1916), through which I have explored the momentous changes in Japanese ceramic production after the opening of Japan to the West in the mid-1800s. I have recently become interested in Meiji ornamental textiles and sculpture and am currently planning an exhibition on the emergence of modern Japanese art in the late-19th to early-20th centuries. I also have an interest in Japanese prints, including landscape prints by Utagawa Hiroshige, surimono privately published poetry prints and the new print styles that developed in early-20th century Japan – Shin Hanga (new prints) and Sosaku Hanga (creative prints). 

Clare Pollard is Curator of Japanese Art at the Ashmolean and an associate member of the Faculty of Oriental Studies. After gaining her doctorate at Oxford University in 1996 on the subject of Japanese potter Miyagawa Kozan (1842–1916) and the development of Meiji ceramics, she worked for seven years as Curator of the East Asian Collections at the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, with a Monbukagakusho visiting research fellowship at Tokyo National Museum in autumn 2000. At the Chester Beatty Library she worked on the redisplay of the collections in a new museum building in Dublin Castle, which was awarded the Gulbenkian/Heritage Council Irish Museum of the Year Award 2000 and European Museum of the Year Award 2002. In 2004 she became Curator of Japanese Art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, before returning to the Ashmolean in April 2006 to start working on the Ashmolean’s redevelopment project. She is responsible for two permanent galleries of Japanese art and has organized a number of temporary exhibitions highlighting aspects of the collections.

Featured publications

2019 Plum Blossom and Green Willow: Japanese Surimono Poetry Prints from the Ashmolean Museum, co-authored with Kiyoko Hanaoka (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford)
2015 Yoshida Hiroshi: A Japanese Artist in India, co-authored with Mallica Kumbera Landrus (Kolkata)
2014 Landscape, Cityscape: Hiroshige Woodblock Prints in the Ashmolean Museum, co-authored with Mitsuko Ito Watanabe (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford)
2012 Threads of Silk and Gold: Ornamental Textiles of Meiji Japan, co-authored with Hiroko McDermott (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford)
2011-12 A Japanese Garniture from Althorp, co-authored with Menno Fitski, in Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society, vol. 76
2006 Zen Mind, Zen Brush: Japanese ink paintings from the Gitter-Yelen collection, co-authored with John Stevens (Art Gallery of NSW)
2006 "Gorgeous with glitter and gold": Miyagawa Kozan and the Role of Satsuma Export Ware in the Early Meiji Ceramic Industry, in Past and Present: the Metamorphosis of Japanese Art in the Nineteenth Century (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press)
2003 The Art of Hokusai – Masterpieces of Japanese Printing in the Chester Beatty Library (Dublin: TownHouse)
2002 Master Potter of Meiji Japan: Makuzu Kozan (1842–1916) and his workshop (Oxford: OUP)

I am currently preparing a major exhibition focusing on the emergence of modern Japanese art in the late-19th to early-20th centuries and co-authoring a catalogue of the Ashmolean’s surimono print collection, in conjunction with a touring exhibition