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Ernest died earlier this year and some in the trade will remember him from the ’Sixties and ’Seventies when he was dealing in Oriental ceramics with an expertise he had somehow acquired over a long and colourful life which included, he said, being a Canadian lumberjack at the age of 15.

Undoubtedly he would have raged at his last few pieces being put unreserved at auction but at least he would have appreciated the way auctioneer Harry Ovenall shared his knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject.

Mr Ovenall has been in the field long enough to remember the collapse in prices for celadon pieces which seemed such a sure bet in the ’Seventies but which plunged as more and more pieces emerged out of China. The market switch helped see off major dealers like Bluetts but not Ernest Galinsky.

The sale also recalled the debate about whether there ever was such a thing as the Chinese famille noir palette or whether such works had been overpainted to meet European fashions in the early 20th century.

The bidders – trade specialists along with a Chinese enthusiast living in Britain – shared an interest in the academic qualities of the Galinsky pieces which made for a lively day.

At Leicester, more than 50 celadon pieces were offered with successful bids ranging from £45 on a 16th century, or later, provincial pear-shaped vase with two ring handles, all applied with celadon glaze, to £155 on a 4th century Yueyao drum-shaped bowl, 63/4in diameter and £280 on a Song Dynasty Longquan 21/4in (6cm) wine pot.

Among a trio of famille noir pieces was a particularly attractive late Quing Dynasty rouleau vase, 171/4in (43cm) tall painted with birds in the flowering branches of a gnarled prunus tree which sold at £1400.
It was one of half a dozen four-figure prices in the sell-out sale after which Mr Ovenall could only ruefully mention the single meiping offered at near neighbours Gildings which sold at £54,000. Still, he enjoyed selling pieces of such intrinsic artistry.

If the market can rate Royal Doulton character jugs (about which Mr Ovenall shares Mr Galinsky’s opinion) more highly than the likes of a 41/2in (11cm) Chenghua-style doucai jar, possibly 17th/early 18th century which led the sale at £1900, so much for the market.

As well as the ceramics there was a small number of works of art which included a Ming cinnabar laquer circular seal box and cover. The 23/4in (7cm) diameter box was carved top and bottom with a cluster of four lychess broaced against a trellis ground and sold at £1300.

Warner Auctions, Leicester
October 31
Buyer’s premium: 121/2 per cent