Lewis Ryder

Thesis: Mandarins in Manchester: Networks, Authenticity and Projections of China in the Art Collections of John Hilditch (1872-1930)

This thesis will investigate the Chinese art collection amassed by John Hilditch (1872-1930), in order to explore British understandings, and engagements with China. This research will use the collection in order to understand Hilditch’s self-representation, revealing what an affiliation with ‘the Orient’ could offer British individuals in interwar Britain, and in particular Manchester. More than a biography of Hilditch, this thesis will provide a broader insight into British culture following the First World War, addressing themes of race, imperialism, authenticity, Chinese modernity and museology.


  • Prof Yangwen Zheng
  • Dr Emma Martin



Research interests

British imperialism, Sino-British relations, material culture, individuals and identity.

Additional information

I completed both my BA (2014) and MA (2016) in History at the University of Manchester. In between, I spent ten months in China teaching English. Other interests include football and 80s pop.

Twitter: @lewryder