History and Techniques

The Chinese glass collection at Bristol’s City Museum & Art Gallery is one of the finest outside Asia. There are over 300 pieces.

Most of the Chinese glass was acquired in 1950 from Mr H.R. Burrows Abbey through the National Art Collections Fund. It was given to Bristol partly because of the city’s history of glass-making. Mr Abbey, who was born in Brighton in 1872, began collecting Chinese glass in about 1916. He continued collecting until his death in 1949. Some of the objects he purchased had been in other private collections, for example those belonging to Mr Ellice-Clark, Captain Warre and Mr A.W. Bahr. Some pieces in his collection were shown in the International Exhibition of Chinese Art at the Royal Academy, London, in 1935-36.

A generous award from the Designation Challenge Fund administered by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) has enabled the museum to carry in-depth research and remedial conservation on the collection. It has also allowed the museum to make the collection more accessible by improving the storage and display environments and creating this website. This project has been undertaken in consultation with Chinese groups and individuals in Bristol including the Overseas Chinese Association, the South Gloucestershire Chinese Association, Bristol and Avon Chinese Women’s Group and the Bristol-China Partnership.