The Museums Service ceramics collection includes about 160 items of Chinese porcelain and stoneware. They range in date from the early 17th century to the 1980s, but the majority belong to the second half of the 18th century when imports of Chinese ware into the UK reached their height.
About a third of these items are currently on display with other ceramics at the Allen Gallery in Alton. Of the remainder a large proportion are damaged or even fragmentary, posing a major challenge in conservation terms. However, in the context of the Museums Service’s searchable collections it has been possible to show all the items in their current condition, and to present a database of Chinese ceramics, focusing in particular on wares that might have been seen in a middle or upper-class British household in the 18th century.