Press Releases 2014-2015

Lecture to Discuss Historic Link Between Wales and China

28.05.2015

The University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) will host a free public lecture tomorrow (29th May) to discuss the Thomas Phillips collection of rare books and manuscripts about China, currently on show at UWTSD in Swansea.

UWTSD’s special collections adviser Peter Hopkins will be joined by theology and religious studies lecturer Dr John Morgan-Guy for a talk entitled ‘Global to the local: the life and vision of Thomas Phillips’. The lecture takes place tomorrow (29th May) at 4pm in the Reading Room at UWTSD’s Alex Design Exchange campus (Alexandra Road, Swansea). Places for the talk can be booked via email k.krajewska@uwtsd.ac.uk.

The talk brings to an end a successful Swansea-based exhibition of items from the University’s Thomas Phillips collection. This is the first time that the rare collection of books about China has left UWTSD in Lampeter in 200 years.

The exhibition and lecture is hosted by the Confucius Institute at UWTSD. The precious books were donated to one of the University’s predecessor institutions, Saint David’s College, by one of Wales’s earliest travellers to the Far East.

International entrepreneur and philanthropist Thomas Phillips travelled to China in 1796 and, following his retirement from the East India Company, made his first donation of books to the college in 1827. The documents cover Chinese history, philosophy, its people and customs. It is a broad-ranging collection of some 27,000 books donated by Phillips, not only on China but many other countries and topics. What is extraordinary about the collection is that it suggests that even in Thomas Phillips’ time, it was important for young people at university to be aware of Chinese language and culture if they were to go on to do commerce with China, and become successful international entrepreneurs just like Phillips.

Krystyna Krajewska, Executive Director of the Confucius Institute said: “The collection reflects Phillips' broad interest in Chinese culture -its geography, language, music, architecture and history. The importance of the exhibition for us today, is that it illustrates how Wales has for nearly two centuries forged links with China, which are just as important for education and business now as they were in Phillips' time. The donation of books by Phillips formed the first, earliest library on China in Wales, and today we still have the largest collection of books on China in Wales.”

Among the books in the exhibition is the beautifully illustrated Journal written by Lord Macartney during the first British Embassy mission to China in 1793. There is also the 17th century translation into Latin by Matteo Ricci of important Confucian texts (The Great Teaching, The Doctrine of the Mean and The Analects), together with a biography of the great sage.

Note to Editor

For more information about the Thomas Phillips Exhibition please visit http://www.uwtsd.ac.uk/thomas-phillips/ 

The Confucius Institute at UWTSD provides Chinese language and culture courses in schools and colleges throughout south and mid Wales, and hosts Chinese cultural events in order to promote a better understanding of China and its people.

Further Information

For more information please contact Steven Stokes, Principal Corporate Communications and PR Officer, on 07872 423788 or email steven.stokes@uwtsd.ac.uk.