In the wake of the sale of a Yongzheng (1722-36) blue and white bottle vase for £2.6m in the autumn, Tennants of Leyburn, North Yorkshire offered this vase from the reign of the emperor Qianlong (1736-96) in their spring fine art sale.
Again deemed an Imperial piece, the
8in (20cm) high bottle vase sold to a telephone bidder from Hong
Kong at £950,000.
The vendor was an Oxford academic who, along
with many other hopeful consignors, had sent photographs of the
vase and other Chinese porcelain after hearing of
Tennants' earlier success.
His grandfather was Sir Francis
Stronge, who joined the diplomatic service in London in 1879 and
served in Peking and in the supreme court in Shanghai, before
living in Central America from 1897 to 1907.
The vase carried an estimate of
£10,000-15,000 for the sale on March 15 (auctioneer Nigel Smith
opened the bidding at £1000), but interest before the sale had led
the auctioneers to believe it would sell for as much as
The buyer's premium was
The best Chinese works of art continue
to prosper in the salerooms.
Just three days later on March 18 a Qianlong
white jade marriage bowl from the collection of the late Commander
Paul Bridgeman (1888-1930) of Dowdeswell Manor, near Cheltenham,
Chorley's of Prinknash Abbey, Gloucestershire, for £260,000
(plus 17.5/15% buyer's premium). It will now be returning to
The 11in (27cm) bowl, with ring
handles suspended from auspicious phoenix masks, is of a type
popular at the Imperial Qing court and carved in a pale celadon
stone prized by the market today. It has two very small
The bulk of the Bridgeman collection,
sourced from the best London dealers of the late 19th and early
20th century, was destroyed by fire at the Pantechnicon in London
on October 8, 1939.
This piece, with a Bluett & Sons
label to its underside, was one of 11 lots in the sale representing
the last holdings of the family. The estimate was