The toast of November’s clutch of Asian art sales was not to be found in London or Salisbury but in Leyburn.
Tennants posted a new house record when this Chinese blue and
white porcelain bottle vase shot to £2.6m (plus 18.5% buyer's
premium). It was discovered recently by Rodney Tennant on a routine
house visit - the vendor said it had escaped damage when it had
been knocked over by the cat.
The magnitude of the price was a
While the 15½ (39cm) vase, superbly
decorated in the 'heaping and piling' technique characteristic of
earlier Ming period pieces, carries a Yongzheng (1722-1736) mark to
the base, the auctioneers had concluded it was probably a copy from
the reign of Daoguang (1820-50). Their estimate for the sale on
November 16 was £20,000-30,000.
But the belief that it was an early 18th
century piece prompted a 10-minute bidding battle between the room
and eight phone lines and, eventually, two head-to-head phone
Above: a detail showing the Yongzheng
mark to the base of the £2.6m vase.
The hammer price of £2.6m matches that of a
14th century Yuan dynasty porcelain double-gourd vase sold by
Woolley & Wallis in July 2005 (the first £1m-plus price in the
UK regions) and represents the 12th time the seven-figure barrier -
a once unimaginable milestone for salerooms outside London - has
now been passed by Britain's provincial salerooms.
Not forgetting the £43m bid at Bainbridges
of Ruislip in November 2010 for a Qianlong vase (a transaction that
ATG understands is yet to be honoured), the current undisputed
provincial record stands at £3.4m for a Qianlong spinach-green jade
buffalo on its original gilt-bronze stand sold by the Salisbury
rooms in 2009.
Tennants' previous house record was £400,000 bid for Sean
Keating's Ulysses off Connemara in March