Sir Alan Barlow (Biographical details)

Sir Alan Barlow (official; collector; British; Male; 1881 - 1968)

Also known as

Barlow, Alan


First collected ceramics of the Near East, concentrating on Persian and Isnik wares of Western Asia. He became interested in Chinese ceramics at the same time as English collectors, led by George Eumorfopoulos, discovered the excavated work of art in China. His collection is particularly strong in ceramics of the Tang (618-906) and Song (960-1279) dynasties. He was a distinguished civil servant, Private Secretary to Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald, 1933; then transferred to the Treasury. Retired in 1948. President of the Oriental Ceramic Society 1943-1961. During this period the Society benefited from his sure guidance of its affairs. His generous contributions enabled it to go forward in its aims and it is doubtful whether the Society would have survived without his financial help.
Sir Alan Barlow donated most of his own collection of Islamic pottery to the Ashmolean Museum (q.v.) in 1956 and smaller groups to the British Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Fitzwilliam Museum. Sir Alan and Lady Barlow’s collection of Chinese ceramics, bronzes and jades were bequeathed to the University of Sussex in 1974. The Barlow Collection is now in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Both Sir Alan and Lady Barlow were collectors. Father of Captain Sir Thomas Erasmus Barlow (1914-2003), who was a Trustee of his father's collection and whose own collection of Iznik pottery was sold through Bonhams in a sale of 'Islamic and Indian Art' in London on 29 April 2004.
Publications: "Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society", 'The Collector and the Expert', vol. 14, 1936-1937, pp. 87-102.


"Transactions of the Oriental Society", vol 37, 1967-69, p. xi obituary, Harry M. Garner. Michael Sullivan, "The Barlow Collection of Chinese Bronzes, Jades and Ceramics", 1974; Craig Clunas, "The Barlow Collection of Chinese Ceramics, Bronzes and Jades, an Introduction", 1997, p. 5 picture of Sir Alan and Lady Barlow at their house Boswell’s in Buckinghamshire. Stacey Pierson, "Collectors, Collections and Museums: The Field of Chinese Ceramics in Britian, 1560-1960", 2007, pp 165, 167, 175-6, 178-9, 180-3, 200-01; Who’s Who, 1965, p.158 .