Vase could smash expectations

By Lucy Todman | Shrewsbury | News | Published:

A “magnificent”, large Chinese blue and white porcelain vase, which has tested the knowledge and expertise of Asian art specialists across the UK, is expected to attract global interest when it goes up for auction tomorrow.

Standing 55cm high, the vase is of bottle shape was discovered by Alexander Clement, Asian art specialist at fine art auctioneers Halls in Shrewsbury, during a visit to the Southport area.

Sadly, it has suffered damage to the rim which will have a big impact on its value when it goes under the hammer.

“The vase’s decoration of auspicious flowers, including lotus blooms amid scrolling foliage, is painted in fine detail, typical of the 18th century master Imperial potters,” said Alexander. “The mark on the underside is a seal for the emperor Yongzheng who reigned between 1723-‘35. But the big question is: Was it made at that time?”

After due consideration and lots of expert opinions, Alexander has given it an estimate of £3,000-£5,000, but says he will not be surprised if it sells for more fuelled by competition from Chinese bidders.

“Similar examples have sold at auction for very large sums,” he said.

“What this piece is telling us, though, is almost equally balanced between it being ‘mark and period’ as being later, but merely in the style of Yongzheng.

“The piece was bought privately around 40 years ago in the Southport area. A tantalisingly small amount of information but enough to indicate that it is not a recent reproduction.

“Specialists in the Asian art field have given their view and opinion is reserved, albeit optimistic. It is a magnificent object and, before damage, an imposing centerpiece. In the current climate, it is up there among the most desirable examples of Chinese porcelain, both in mainland China and in the West.


“Guided by what we know, we have settled on £3,000-£5,000. The market likes to disagree with us from time to time and present a delightful surprise to vendor and auctioneer alike.

“An exciting antique find like this one is what keeps us auctioneers getting out of bed in the morning and for me, as a specialist in Asian art, the potential for a really magnificent result is currently very high.

“In the last 12 months, we have seen two Battlefield saleroom records broken, both by Chinese objects and results in other salerooms around the country seem to suggest the appetite for rare Asian items remains pretty strong.”

Halls’ current record at the Battlefield salerooms is £155,000 for a rare 18th century Chinese cinnabar lacquer brush pot.

Lucy Todman

By Lucy Todman

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star and Shrewsbury Chronicle based in Shrewsbury.


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