There was huge pre-sale interest from the Far East in this Qing jade table screen at the latest fine art sale held by Tennants of Leyburn.
Carved with figures among pines and a pagoda to one side and
with a stag and cranes to the other, it measured 8½in (22cm)
diameter and was among a number of pieces from the clearance of a
flat of a Leeds lady who had been in the antiques trade with her
husband some 40 years ago.
The catalogue illustrations - one on the inside front cover and
two more inside - showed the fine, deep carving but also clearly
showed a small russet inclusion, a tiny chip to an edge and a
minuscule resin-filled natural crater blemish. For these reasons,
said Nigel Smith at Tennants' Harrogate branch who carried out the
crucial clearance, it had been cautiously appraised and estimated
at £3000-5000 for the June 25-26 sale.
The best of the circular jade table screens produced during the
reign of Qianlong (examples of which have sold for close to $1m in
Hong Kong) were carefully chosen for the translucency of the
material - their quality only really apparent when the stone is
illuminated from behind. Landscape carvings of this type - often
reproducing classical paintings from the Imperial collection - were
particularly favoured by the Emperor.
Speculation that this too was an Imperial piece, saw competition
from China spiral to £300,000. It sold to an internet bidder,
underbid in the room and by several telephone lines.
The buyer's premium was 20%.
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