In February last year the auctioneers sold a set of four famille rose panels depicting the four seasons in mountainous settings for a wholly unexpected £420,000. Those carried the red seal of Wang Yeting (1884-1942), one of the Eight Friends of Zhushan - the key group of Republic period decorators instrumental in revitalising the Chinese porcelain industry after the fall of the Qing dynasty.
They ended 2014 much as it had begun with the consignment of a similar set of six famille verte and famille rose porcelain panels of mountain and river scenes. All were signed although the artist was unidentified.
"Our client was working for an international chain of luxury hotels in Hong Kong when he married his bride 30 years ago," said auctioneer Richard Bromell. "His Chinese father-in-law spent many years collecting porcelain and gave the newlyweds these six panels from his collection as a wedding gift."
Moving forward 30 years, the panels, each measuring 13 x 21in (33 x 54cm) and in hardwood frames, had been relegated to the owner's attic in Egham, Surrey. After decades of international travel and the lack of wall space after a house move, the couple decided now was the time to auction the panels.
The estimate of £30,000-35,000 at the sale on December 16-17, and 24 different digital images available for inspection online, ensured a bank of tphones were booked on December 16-17. Against bidding from China and Europe, they sold at £140,000 to a buyer from Sichuan Province.
The buyer's premium was 19.5%.