The Reeves Collection

Founded in 1967 with a gift of ceramics from alumnus Euchlin Reeves and his wife, the painter Louise Herreshoff, the Reeves Collection contains ceramics made in Asia, Europe, and the Americas between 1500 and today.

These fragile yet durable objects tell stories of design, technology, and trade, and illustrate how people drank, dined and decorated their homes over the past five centuries.

Search and view items from the Reeves Collection by visiting our online database. Records may at times be added or removed for editing.

Reeves 50th Catalog

Available for Purchase
50 Treasures: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Reeves Collection of Ceramics at Washington and Lee University by Ron Fuchs. On sale at the Lee Chapel Museum Shop for $17.95. Tax not included. Contact (540) 458-8095 for purchasing.


The catalog includes 50 ceramics from the Reeves Collection acquired in the last 50 years. They were made in Asia, Europe, and the Americas, some as early as the early 1600s and some as recently as the 21st century. These pieces reflect the range and diversity of the collection and they are particularly fine examples or their type, or they have especially interesting stories.  

New Accessions

Salad Bowl

Salad Bowl
Made in Jingdezhen and decorated in Guangzhou (Canton), China, 1830-1840
Made of Hard-Paste Porcelain
Gift of Bruce C. Perkins

This bowl, emblazoned with the name of the ship Red Rover, is intimately connected to the smuggling of opium into China in the 1830s. 

The Red Rover was the first of the "opium clippers," which were fast-sailing ships that carried opium from India to China.  Built in 1829 and named after the swash-buckling pirate in James Fennimore Cooper's The Red Rover, she belonged to Jardine Matheson & Company.  They were the leading British merchant house involved in the lucrative but illegal opium market. Opium made vast fortunes for a few British, American, Indian, and Chinese merchants, and created serious medical, social, and economic problems in China.  These and other issues led to the Opium War fought between Britain and China from 1839 until 1842.