Percival David

Percival David

Sir Percival Victor David Ezekiel David, 2nd Baronet, (Bombay, 1892–1964) was an important collector of Chinese porcelain.


David's background was a Jewish family in British India, but originating in Baghdad. His father, Sir Sassoon David, was an important businessman in Bombay (now Mumbai), and a banker, being a founder of the Bank of India.


David was educated in India, at Elphinstone College and the University of Bombay.

He married in 1920, in London, and in the following years began to collect Chinese art, and to study the Chinese language. He inherited his father’s baronetcy in 1926. He then went to Beijing, and promoted the display and exhibition of the Imperial collection of porcelain. He purchased there for himself the basis of his collection. [ [ PDF] ]

He joined the Oriental Ceramic Society in 1930, and subsequently sponsored exhibitions in London. He translated the "Ge Gu Yao Lun", a fourteenth century Ming period manual by Cao Zhao. [ [ PDF] ; this was published as "Chinese Connoisseurship: The Ko Ku Yao Lun, The Essential Criteria of Antiquities". (Faber & Faber, 1971).]


His collection is now held by the Percival David Foundation. It was presented in 1950 to the University of London, together with a library. From 2009 it will be displayed in the British Museum.


*S. H. Hansford, "Obituary: Sir Percival David", Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 28, No. 2 (1965), pp. 472-475


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