31 January 2020 – History of SEACS 1969-2019

William Willetts photographed at Angkor in 1968 by Pamela M. Watkins, dressed in his trademark oversized white short sleeve short kurta and loose fitting white cotton drill shorts otherwise known as “Bombay Bloomers” with Indian chappal slippers.

History of SEACS 1969-2019

7.00pm Friday, 30 January 2020
Visitors’ Briefing Room, Level 1
National Library Building
100 Victoria Street
Singapore 188064

Corporate histories can often be dull affairs full of administrative details and forgotten events, but not the Southeast Asian Ceramic Society (SEACS). From the minute a most unusual individual by the name of William Young Willetts arrived in Singapore to be a catalyst in the formation of the Southeast Asian Ceramic Society (SEACS), its history has been fuelled by some of the most exciting discoveries in the field of Southeast Asian Ceramics.

If truth be told, SEACS should never have succeeded. The Society never had more than 200 members at its peak, but while most Oriental ceramic societies focused on the ceramics of China, SEACS expanded its view to include not only indigenous ceramics of Southeast Asia, but also those Chinese ceramics that found their way to the region to became part of the Southeast Asian story. These and other stories have been shared with us by some of the leading names in the field: Helen Ling, John Ayers, Eddie Chow, Pamela Hickley, Nigel Wood, Michael Flecker, Wang Gungwu, Dawn Rooney, Sten Sjóstrand, Kenson Kwok, John Miksic, Roxanna Brown, Stacey Pierson, Rose Kerr and many others.

SEACS President Patricia Welch spent 15 over months tracking down the Society’s long-neglected records, consulting archival files and interviewing past and current members to ensure SEACS’ history was not lost, acknowledging that it was the work and interest of SEACS and its members that helped change knowledge of this region and its role in the larger picture of global history and trade.

This talk by Patricia Welch highlights both the Society and its members, in addition to some of the most important regional ceramic discoveries in the past 50 years.


This talk is free and open to the public, SEACS members and their guests. No RSVP is required but seating is limited and on a first-come-first-served basis. Children age 13+ are also welcome to attend. The program will begin at 7pm promptly and end at approximately 8pm. Parking is available in the National Library basement carpark and the closest MRT stop is Bras Basah.