Mary Tregear was born in 1924 in Wuhan, China, and educated in Bristol and at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. She spent three years in China teaching at Central China University, and five years at the University of Hong Kong as Curator of the University Museum and Lecturer in Chinese Art History. In 1961 she joined the staff of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, where she was Keeper in the Department of Eastern Art until her retirement in 1991. She is a Fellow of the British Academy, and an Emeritus Fellow of St Cross College, Oxford. She is the author of Catalogue of Chinese Greenware in the Ashmolean Museum and Song Ceramics.