The Accounting Historians Notebook, October 2015 1
Vol. 38, No. 2 © Academy of Accounting Historians October 2015
Behind the Painting by A.C. Littleton in Shanghai
James L. Chan*
During a recent trip to China in part to find my familial roots, which turned out to be traceable to the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907), I was re-minded of my intellectual roots in America at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.
On June 2, 2015, I was given a tour of the China Accounting Museum (opened in November 2013) at the Lixin School of Accounting in Shanghai1. In its International Hall, I came face to face with an oil painting by A.C. Littleton, “my” Littleton. Perhaps in a breach of protocol, I
requested my host, Professor Song Xiaoming, to take the painting down from the wall to verify the authentici-ty of my claim. “There is a word ‘Wood’ on the backside,” I told him. He obliged: sure enough, inscribed in pencil were the words “after Robert Wood”. I explained that Littleton painted by the number, i.e. following numbered instructions, and therefore did not want to sign his own name. They seemed as surprised as I was, for the painting was donated by Pro-fessor Qu Xiaohui of Xiamen Uni-versity. Following is the story behind the painting being at the museum:
I interviewed for a faculty posi-tion at Arizona State in Tempe, Arizona in November 1977. During my conversation with Professor William Huizingh, I told him about my Illinois intel-lectual heritage. During my 7 ½ years from freshman to Ph.D. (1968-1975), I took courses with a half dozen professors whose dissertations had been (Continued on page 6)