On 19 May 2021, we have our Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art auction. The auction features a selection of private collections including Chinese ceramics and works of art belonging to Sir David and Lady Scholey (Lots 55-89). Ahead of the auction we take a look at some of the highlights.
Sir David Scholey CBE FRSA achieved success as a merchant banker in the City of London during a career which saw him rise to become Chairman and Chief Executive of S G Warburg, a director of the Bank of England and governor of the BBC - his commitment to the arts was reflected in his role as Chairman of Trustees of The National Portrait Gallery - as well as a Director of the London Symphony Orchestra and a trustee of Glyndebourne.
A lifelong interest in music and art has been shared with his wife Alexandra and together they furnished Heath End House, Hampstead - once the residence of John Abbott McNeill Whistler. Regular purchases from the leading London antiques fairs and dealers allowed them to add to those pieces passed down from their families - including a special penchant for Chinese porcelain, English furniture, and silver cream jugs.
Sir David and Lady Scholey are now moving to smaller quarters in Florence and it is therefore time to scale down and let go of some of many of the antiques, paintings and works of art which has given them so much pleasure during a lifetime of collecting.
Some of the highlights from their collection include Lot 55, a fine pair of 18th century Chinese silk embroidered chair covers, yipi. They are woven in beautiful shades of blue, green, ochre and gold on a rich coral ground. Each depicts a caparisoned elephant supporting a vase of auspicious objects on its back, beneath a vase decorated with a shou character and surrounded with cloud swirls. The lower parts are further decorated with a large peony roundel above a pagoda flanked with two Buddhist lions on crashing waves. This decoration is enclosed by a chrysanthemum and anbaxian diaper border.
The collection features a wonderful selection of Chinese porcelain, including Lot 63, a fine pair of Chinese blue and white dishes, dating from the Jiajing/Wanli period (1522-1619). They are designed with shallow rounded sides. The interiors decorated in underglaze blue to the centre, with a lotus blossom with centring radiating scrolling leafy stems. The exterior is similarly decorated in underglaze blue with lotus scroll.
The bases are then inscribed with a four-character shang pin jia qi, meaning 'high quality vessel'. The same mark was seen on a similar dish which sold at Sotheby's on 5 June 2020, as part of the Collection of Edward T. Chow.
Another highlight is Lot 64, a rare Chinese porcelain 'Lotus' bowl, Kangxi. The body is finished with white and blue-toned glaze and a brown rim line. The exterior is then incised with lotus scroll. The base is marked with a blue four character mark 商山仿古 (Shang shan fang gu), meaning 'Shangshan imitating the ancient'.
Shang Shan was the alias of Guo Pengling (1654-1722), whose ancestors were originally from Tai Yuan in north China but had moved to Yang Zhou along the Yangtze River. Guo became a jinshi (metropolitan graduate) in 1678 and took up various posts in civil service afterwards. He was remembered for his literary accomplishments, having produced several volumes including the Yinshan Tang Xinggao (Manuscript of the Yinshan Hall) and the Zhitang Shiji (Collected Poetry of the Fungus Hall).
A final highlight from the collection that we wanted to share here is Lot 65, this fine pair of iron-red and underglaze-blue 'Dragon' dishes. They feature Qianlong seal marks and are of the period (1735-1796). Each is designed with shallow rounded sides rising from a small slightly tapered foot to an everted rim. The interior is finely painted with a central medallion enclosing an iron-red five-clawed dragon amongst waves of contrasting underglaze blue, all within a double-line border repeated at the rim. The exterior is similarly decorated with nine dragons in various spirited poses in shades of iron-red. The base is then inscribed with a six-character seal mark in underglaze blue.
Wednesday 19 May | 10.30am
Donnington Priory, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2JE
This is an online auction with an auctioneer.
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