Asian Ceramics & Works of Art Sale - 19th Jan 2011

Asian Art is very much the flavour of the moment, as Dreweatts’ 366 lot sale of Asian Ceramics & Works of Art on 19th January attested. Once again Dreweatts had attracted a considerable amount of privately owned lots, which is always enticing bait for the trade. Although the viewing days at Donnington Priory were very busy, many condition reports and extra images were emailed around the world and it is interesting that today more and more bidding is conducted online and on the telephone, and not only by overseas buyers. As one might expect, most of the international bidding from private as well as trade buyers came from the Far East, with some European and American interest as well.

The 366 lot sale generally did very well and there was a variety of highlights. The star lot was a large powder blue Kangxi rouleau vase decorated in gilt with landscapes (lot 147). Estimated at £2,000-3,000 it eventually sold for £20,700 and might well have sold for double that, had it not been drilled for a lamp! The sale also offered a few pieces of furniture such as the huanghuali Kang low table with square legs from the Qing dynasty (lot 55). This attractive piece made £8,500, twenty times the lower estimate.

Pre 20th century ivory is keenly sought after amongst the Chinese as the intricately carved 19th century tusk vase proved (lot 116). Decorated in high relief with scholars, soldiers, dignitaries and horse riders in a mountainous landscape of bamboo, prunus and pine (known as the ‘three friends’), it made £7,900 (estimate £1,000-1,500) with the proceeds going to Rwanda Aid. Another Chinese taste item was the 20th century white coral group of two boys clambering over rockwork (lot 111) which sold for £7,300 against an estimate of £200-300. Also of Chinese taste was the marble ‘dreamstone’ or ‘Dali’ panel table screen (lot 290), with the popular imaginary range of snow capped mountains; this was snapped up for £7,900 (estimate £1,500-2,000). Amongst the bronzes, a Chinese patinated hand-warmer (lot 68) of the 18th/19th century with unusual inlay of a phoenix, a qilin, a tortoise and a dragon in mixed metals made just over £3,000 estimated at £100-150.

Interestingly ‘Dehua’ or blanc-de-chine, so long in the domain of the Chinese Export market, is now faring particularly well amongst Far Eastern buyers, and Dreweatts was selling a private collection. A 17th century figure of a standing Guanyin (lot 157) made £2,600 (estimated £300-500) as did the two pairs of blanc-de-chine wine cups (lot 160). Another possible growth area seems to be artist decorated porcelain of the late 19th to early 20th century; for example a famille rose archaistic cong vase of the Guangxu period (1875-1908) (lot 249), decorated with a figure of a sage and boy attendant with birds perched in prunus branches, made a very healthy £4,600 over four times the higher estimate and the porcelain Guangxu plaque (lot 256) painted with ladies in a fenced garden, sold for £3,100 in spite of chips and cracks. Two 18th/19th century Chinese copper red/sang-de-boeuf glazed vases (lot 196), one pear-shaped and the other double gourd shaped, went for £4,200 very comfortably over the estimate of £150-250.

‘The common denominator for all the lots which did particularly well, is quality,’ said Daniel Bray, the specialist in charge. ‘We had a very good take-up of all lots and prices seem to be strengthening across the board for pre 1950 items. However as this sale showed, good quality 18th and 19th century bronzes and pre 20th century ivory are really sought after at the moment.’

Dreweatts’ next sale of Asian Ceramics and Works of Art will be on 15th June.

To view the 19th January sale catalogue online, please click here.

For further press information and illustrations please contact: Vanessa Clewes Salmon

Tel: 020 8458 3288 or email:

Dreweatts - 21 January 2011