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Digital Subscriptions > Antiques Trade Gazette > 2295 > The £13m boon for London as Silk Road begins to run dry

The £13m boon for London as Silk Road begins to run dry

“It was one of those eureka moments,” said Rosemary Scott, Chinese ceramics specialist at Christie’s. “My colleague Jeremy Morgan was on a perfectly normal valuation visit when he walked into the drawing room and there, on the mantelpiece, he saw these vases. He couldn’t believe his eyes.”

Crowning the recent Asian art sales – and bringing more than a third of the total take across the £33m series – was a splendid pair of Qianlong (1736-95) mark and period famille rose ‘butterfly’ double-gourd vases.

Collected in the 1930s in London by an English lady from a noble family, the current owner had “no idea of their true value”. Hong Kong would typically be the destination for an item of this calibre. It was a boon for London that they sold here – and sold so well.

The pair, estimated at £2m-3m, prompted 15 minutes of bidding across 10 potential suitors before they were hammered down at £13m. Discounting the so-called Bainbridge’s vase, £13m is the second-highest price for Chinese art in the UK next to the £14m Yuan dynasty guan sold at Christie’s King Street in 2005.

Double appeal

Representing the last great political and artistic flowering before the terminal decline of the later Qing emperors, imperial wares from the reign of Yongzheng and his fourth son and successor, Qianlong, continue to set the benchmark in the Asian art market. They appeal on aesthetic and emotional levels.

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About Antiques Trade Gazette

Antiques Trade Gazette is the essential publication for everyone with a serious interest in art, antiques and collectables. Every week it is packed with up-to-the-minute news on the market, with individual items beautifully illustrated throughout. Since 1971 it has been the most reliable source of information on what is really happening at auctions in the UK and around the world. Each issue is filled with auction advertisements and detailed auction reports written by expert journalists. The Dealer’s Diary section keeps readers constantly updated on what is happening at the fairs and markets and in the galleries and shops. Market professionals and serious collectors throughout the world rely on ATG to keep them informed on developments and issues which shape the art market. It is here that they learn about the prices achieved at auction in every area - from antiquities to pop memorabilia, from impressionist paintings to Chinese art. With 500 or more art objects pictured, every issue is a treat to the eye and a visual education. Whatever the topic Antiques Trade Gazette is well-informed, up-to-date and entertaining.

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