Saturday - 06 February 2016

Leeds flat clearance yields Qing treasure

08 August 2014Written by Roland Arkell

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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