China and the Royal Society

From the Royal Society's foundation in 1660, knowledge and understanding of parts of the world which had become newly  accessible to Europeans was high on the Fellows' agenda, as a cornerstone of their scientific information-gathering and its practical application. The Society has remained steadfastly committed to productive dialogue with the culture and science of other lands ever since. This exhibition offers just a small sample of the rich history of intellectual, cultural and material exchange between China and the Royal Society from the seventeenth century to the present day which can be traced using the Society's archives. What emerges is a story of mutual respect, even during periods when political and economic relations between the two countries were far from cordial.



We gratefully acknowledge loans and assistance from the following organisations:

HSBC Holdings plc

Needham Research Institute

Victoria and Albert Museum

All images were taken by Richard Valencia and are copyright of the Royal Society unless otherwise stated.