Today was another old friend’s birthday. Sandy and I studied Asian art together in London on the diploma course run by London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and Sotheby’s. We then went on to do our Masters at SOAS and worked together teaching on some of the SOAS-Sotheby’s courses. Sandy, like me had a passion for Japanese art, and more specifically Japanese ceramics. When I left the UK for my museum job in the US, she began her PhD in England, and I guess we both imagined we wouldn’t be seeing to much of each other living thousands of miles away, but a job in Japanese art history came up at a Japanese art center in Central California and soon she moved out here too. It was a job I’d have been interested in but I couldn’t face living in such a rural area as a single woman in my mid-thirties. Sandy made it work though. While she was living there, she met a Japanese art dealer and they fell madly in love. She now lives with him and their two lovely children in Basel.
I met Anne about 15 years ago when I was working at Pacific Asia Museum and she was working at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens researching their William Morris Collection. She had recently returned to California from England, where she had studied English literature at Oxford and British art at the Courtauld Institute in London. For me, California was exotic, but for Anne, who had grown up here, England was far more captivating, so she wasn’t too thrilled to be back here.