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Gerald Davison with his new book 'Marks on Chinese Ceramics'.

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Weighing in at nearly 1kg, Marks on Chinese Ceramics has already been well received.

Davison decided to publish this book himself through his website rather than through international distributors as before.

“I opened the website without fanfare to make sure it was functioning well and the first print run sold out in under four weeks”, he says. A larger run of the book is now available.

Davison has been a dealer for 60 years (starting when he was 18) and he wrote his first book in 1987. He followed this in 1994 and 2010 (as well as several reprints of each one) and said his “latest book brings to a conclusion my research and unique work on the subject”.

He adds: “Inscriptions and marks of varying types appeared on Chinese pottery and porcelain with increasing frequency from the Tang Dynasty (618-906CE) through to the Republic in the early years of the 20th century” and that his book is the “only reference work in any language to deal exhaustively with the entire range of these very diverse marks”.

Across 400 pages there are illustrations of 4200 individual marks.

Highly recommended

Colin Sheaf, global head of Asian art at Bonhams, has already reviewed the book. He said it is: “Hugely expanded, crucially extended to cover 20th century ceramics for the first time, and handily cross-referenced for maximum usefulness. This is one of the very few reference books that are genuinely essential for anyone interested in Chinese-taste ceramics.”

Davison hopes his new book will be as popular as his other publications but was surprised to find buyers are so keen that there has even been criminal activity to secure the work.

“An interesting aspect of my books is that the old editions get advertised at fantastic prices on eBay and Amazon for example, often changing hands for many hundreds of pounds”, he said.

“One of my small 1987 books that originally sold for £10 is currently advertised at £425! The reality is that each new publication has made earlier editions obsolete.

“Within days of my new 2021 book being sold, copies started appearing on eBay at very inflated prices. I now advertise the same book on eBay at the normal price to try to stem this profiteering.

“But the new reprint even appeared for sale on eBay before we had sold any and it turned out they were stolen from the binders and the police are now investigating.”

chinesemarks.com