Not on view
The Helena Woolworth McCann collection of Chinese-export porcelain is a lasting tribute to the knowledge and judgment of the collector whose name it bears. The objects in her collection, consisting of about 4,000 pieces, of which 441 were generously given to The Met, were made in China to the order of European and American clients during the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. Assembling such a comprehensive and distinguished group not only called for rare insight and informed taste, but required extensive travel and search in Europe. The typical collector of this material focuses on wares destined for one region: the Continent, England, or America. Mrs. McCann, however, collected without regard to the market, the resulting collection thus reflecting the variety and extend of the trade in Chinese porcelain throughout the Western world at the peak of its popularity.
Following her untimely death in 1938, her children gave the collection to the Winfield Foundation, created in her memory for educational and charitable purposes. Today, Mrs. McCann's extraordinary collection of Chinese export porcelain is dispersed among twenty-six museums in the United States and one in Canada, and has been made accessible to the public as a source of pleasure and instruction. Pieces of her collection remain highlights of The Met's world-class holdings in Chinese-export porcelain.