The Thornhill Stem Cup  

30 May 2016 | 6:00 pm | Liang Yi museum













The Thornhill Stem Cupby Rosy Crehan

The blue-and-white Stem Cup bearing the was the Ming Xuande (1426-35) mark is the most valuable of 270 items bequeathed to the Staffordshire University by a collector named Ernest Thornhill in 1944. Upon rediscovering the collection, the University appointed Lyon & Turnbull to auction the Stem Cup in order to raise funds to build a permanent new home for the remainder of the collection. This building will also enable student access to the collection for their study, complying with the original bequest and wishes of Mr. Thornhill. 

The ware’s unique qualities include the glaze, which is thick and lustrous, with a buttery softness to it that responds to touch, and a luminosity unsurpassed in later wares. This glaze is untainted by age, and consequently the pieces still give us the same pleasure today as when the Emperor Xuande held them in his hands. Today, very few examples exist outside museum collections.  

Little is known about Mr. Thornhill. His progressively more critical eye – developed over four decades of collecting – has secured him a place in history, as author of a collection of the Chinese potter which has stood the test of time and changing tastes.  


About the speaker:
Rosy Crehan, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) of the Staffordshire University, and Anna Westin, Consultant Specialist, will share the story behind the collection ofErnest Thornhill, its stem cup and the future that the sale of the cup will bring for the remaining 269 pieces. The collection will be curated, conserved and enjoyed in a facility that will attract many to Staffordshire.  


Date and Time: 6:00 pm (registration and seating)
                         6:30 pm (art talk) 

Venue: Liang Yi museum, 181-199 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan