The lucky purchaser of the vessel – which is inscribed with an imperial poem – was unaware of the significance of his find and had been deluged with bids and enquiries after placing it for sale on eBay. He took the decision to withdraw it from the online auction site and take it to his local saleroom for a fuller appraisal.
The 8in (19cm) high pear-shaped wall pocket with ruyi handles and a yellow ‘graviata’ ground is inscribed with a poem praising incense alongside a yuti mark and two iron-red seal marks reading Qianlong chen han (‘the Qianlong Emperor’s own mark’) and Weijing weiyi (‘be precise, be undivided’).
Second time offline
The wall vase now forms part of Sworders’ Asian Art auction on November 8 with an estimate of £50,000-80,000.
It is the second time a Chinese object has come to auction in this unusual fashion.
Back in 2016 Woolley & Wallis received a Qianlong imperial enamel vase a local gentleman had bought for £10 at a car boot sale.
After initially posting it on eBay and receiving bids of more than £10,000, he decided to take it offline and instead consign it for sale in Salisbury where it made £50,000.