Stephen Wootton Bushell (Biographical details)

Stephen Wootton Bushell (medical; collector; British; Male; 1844 - 1908)

Also known as

Bushell, Stephen Wootton


Medical doctor at the British Legation, Beijing, China, between 1868 and 1900; collector. CMG, BSc, MD. Council Member of the Royal Numismatic Society (q.v.), 1902-04. The British Museum acquired his collection of books, ceramics and coins from his widow, Florence Bushell, in 1909. The only known portrait of Bushell (a photograph originally owned by Prof. Walter Percival Yetts, 1878-1957) is in "Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society" 29 (1954-55).
His publications include: "Oriental Ceramic Art", illustrated by examples from the collection of W T Walters, 10 vols, New York, 1896 [reprint, London 1981]; "Chinese art", London, 1904-6; a translation of Hsiang Yuan-pien's "Chinese porcelain", Oxford, 1908; and articles on Chinese coins in "The China Review", and "Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society". His contribution to British scholarship of Chinese Art, in particular ceramics, is still recognised. In 1868 he was recommended for the post of Medical attendant to the British Legation in Beijing. As well as the care of members of the legation both in Beijing and during the summer months in the Western Hills, he also engaged in private practice and treated members of the Chinese community free of charge. He was fluent in Chinese. He collected Chinese books, ceramics and coins. He was employed as an agent by both the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum to purchase objects on their behalf.
On home leave from China in 1874 he married Florence Jane Mathews. The couple returned to China (apart from periods of home leave) until he retired in 1898.
Publications: Stephen W. Bushell, ‘Description of Chinese Pottery and Porcelain - Being a Translation of the “Tao Shuo”’, with introduction, Notes and Bibliography, Oxford 1910, with an index by Lady David, reprinted Oxford 1977;


Jessica Harrison-Hall, "Catalogue of late Yuan and Ming Ceramics in the British Museum", 2001, p. 587; Roy Davids and Dominic Jellinek, "PROVENANCE: Collectors, Dealers and Scholars: Chinese Ceramics in Britain and America", 2011, pp. 101&102; Rose Kerr, ‘Bushell Gift’, "Oriental Art", new series vol XLIV, no. 2 summer 1998, pp 36-8; Nick Pearce, ‘Collecting, Connoisseurship and Commerce: An Examination of the Life and Career of Stephen Wootton Bushell (1844-1908)', "Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society", vol. 70, 2005-2006, pp 17-25; Stacey Pierson, "Collectors, Collections and Museums: The Field of Chinese Ceramics in Britain, 1560-1960", 2007, pp 74, 76, 79, 80, 82, 83, 93, 104, 106, 107, 113, 119, 126, 168.