The Art of Trade

Ref: C3742696

Trade follows the flag and empire builders brought luxuries home to decorate castles and cottages. This course looks at pigments, textiles and spices from Central Asia, India, China and South America and how they affected us in Europe. Fashions, home decorative fabrics and exotic items were collected all over the world to influence Britain, Spain and Portugal and the Netherlands from their expanding empires

Course aim

to discover how trade in luxuries such as spices, textiles and ceramics from Asia, India, China and South America influenced art and design in Western Europe

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • 1. identify the main trading centres of the world for luxuries
  • 2. describe how pigments and textiles influenced design in the home
  • 3. account for the trade in spices, tea and coffee
  • 4. explain how the cultures of Western European empires were influenced by the lure of their trade with the East

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • A vsit to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford is planned to see exhibits associated with Crossing Cultures - the Silk Road

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • lively participation is encouraged

What else do I need to know?

  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • The Silk Roads, Bloomsbury 2015 by Peter Frankopan is a stimulating book on this wide-ranging topic

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • enhanced Information for guiding at local places of interest

Download full course information sheet

The Art of Trade

Is this course right for me? Request more information

This course has been cancelled.


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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