Persia and China is the first catalogue raisonne to explore the collection of Blue and White Persian ceramics of the Safavid dynasty in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. It is a study of over 500 pieces of glazed ceramics mainly from the 17th and 18th centuries, all photographed in black and white by the author. Most of the collection was acquired over a century ago in Persia where Major Richard Murdoch Smith RE, the enterprising director of the Indo European Telegraph Line, recognized the possibility of creating the first ever comprehensive Persian Collection for the Museum then known as the South Kensington Museum. This group of ceramics is part of a very large collection of Persian artefacts gathered during his years of service in Persia from 1865 to 1885. Murdoch Smith had grasped the importance of the geographical position of Persia on the sea route between Western Europe and Far Eastern Asia, and he understood how the historical background together with trading by the East India Companies, influenced the production of Persian ceramics.
By taking all these factors into account, the diversity of the designs and shapes of these Persian ceramics caught between European and Far Eastern markets, can be better understood and enjoyed.
Yolanda Crowe has written extensively on the architecture and decorative arts of Islam. A particular preoccupation has been the relationship between these arts and their Chinese prototypes, especially the blue and white porcelains of Jingdezhen. She has also worked on archaeological material from Islamic sites in Iran and Afghanistan.