Guanyin head
A large painted stucco head of Guanyin from the Yuan or early Ming period c.1350-1400, £48,000 at the Roger Keverne sale at Bonhams.

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Offered without reserve, the 421 lots took 15 hours to sell on May 11 with three in four pieces selling above estimate. The sale total with premium was £4.8m.

The Part II Roger Keverne Ltd: Moving On sale of similar size will be held on June 7 at Bonhams.

Keverne, the son of a Yorkshire coalmining engineer, began his six decades in the trade at auction house Spencers of Retford before specialising in Chinese art at London dealership Spink. Rising to head the Asian department by the age of just 28, he left Spink in 1992 to start his own business together with Miranda Clarke, his wife and business partner. The gallery at 16 Clifford Street, Mayfair, closed in June 2020.

Keverne is particularly known for his expertise in early Chinese bronzes and it was an archaic ritual wine vessel (fanglei) from the Shang dynasty that provided the top lot. Guided at £50,000-80,000, it brought £150,000 (plus 27.5/25% premium).

Pictured above is one of a number of lots that took multi-estimate sums. This large painted stucco head of Guanyin from the Yuan or early Ming period c.1350-1400 improved on a modest guide of £1500-2000 to bring £48,000.

Working in clay applied over a wooden core allowed for the creation of these monumental works – this head measures an impressive 2ft 3in (67cm) high.