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S. J. Vernoit

(b Liverpool, April 18, 1863; d London, Dec 19, 1939).

English collector. The eldest son of a Greek merchant, Eumorfopoulos worked for the merchant firm of Ralli Brothers. He initially collected European porcelains and Japanese tea bowls but then turned to Chinese objects, which became his largest collection, emphasizing pottery and porcelains. His second interest was metalwork, and he formed a fine collection of Chinese bronzes; he was also interested in other media, such as jade. He chose items based on his aesthetic response rather than archaeological or rarity value, and he thus placed himself at the forefront of Western taste for Chinese art. From 1924 he also began to acquire Islamic art and formed a separate Chinese collection for the Benaki Museum, Athens, so that the museum eventually had nearly 800 examples of Chinese pottery and porcelain. Eumorfopoulos was elected the first president of the Oriental Ceramic Society in 1921 and retained this position until his death, his house becoming central to the activities of the society. In ...