Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Woolley & Wallis’ John Axford said a local man brought the vase in to be valued after receiving bids of more than £10,000 on eBay.

Axford said: “He realised it was worth checking what he had. This shows that it is important for members of the public to be able to bring items to specialist auctioneers for information and appraisal.”

The enamel vase has a four character Qianlong Imperial mark and dates from the 1736-95 period. Axford said enamel was brought to China by Jesuit priests and this piece was made in a Beijing workshop.

Chinese vase

This example from the British Museum was bequeathed by Reginald Radcliffe Cory in 1936. It is numbered 1936, 0413.46 in the museum. It is similar to the Chinese Imperial Beijing enamel small ‘quail and millet’ vase being auctioned by Woolley & Wallis on November 15.

Initially it was believed the base did not match the vase, however Axford and his team discovered it is very similar to an example in the British Museum which was donated in 1936 by a Reginald Radcliffe Cory in 1936.

‘Everlasting peace year after year’

The vase is 12cm high (20cm in total with its base). The pear-shaped body is decorated with a quail and millet design on an Imperial yellow ground beneath a border of small blue ruyi heads and a central gilded collar. Quail and millet are used in Chinese as a pun for sui sui ping an (everlasting peace year after year).

The vase was brought to Woolley & Wallis last month, just in time to be included in its Asian Art sale on November 15.