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Sotheby's London Spring Chinese Sales Series Totals $32,549,604
LONDON.- Sotheby’s Spring series of Chinese sales in London concluded yesterday, having realised a total of £16,751,379 ($32,549,604) – the highest total ever for such a series in London and a sum well in excess of the pre-sale estimate of £5.2 to £7.4 million. This spectacular result follows hot on the heels of the similarly exceptional results realised at Sotheby’s Chinese sales in Hong Kong in April. Those sales made a record breaking £49.3 / $97 million, bringing the total for Sotheby’s sales in this category thus far this year to £71.6 / $140.7 million (this total comprises results from Hong, New York and London.)

Robert Bradlow, Head of Sotheby’s London Chinese Department, commented: “From the moment the catalogues were published, the response from private collectors, dealers and museums alike, was swift and enthusiastic. Buyers yesterday were looking for provenance and quality, both of which were present in abundance. We were thrilled to see so much activity from museums as well as from buyers from outside the Asian diaspora.”

Works formerly in the Collection of Dr Johan Carl Kempe Yesterday’s sales included works formerly in the Collection of Dr Johan Carl Kempe. Together the 264 lots offered from this collection realised a combined total of £13,158,504 ($25,568,289), a sum well in excess of pre-sale expectations of £2.57 to £3.56 million.

The first component of the Kempe collection comprised Masterpieces of Chinese Precious Metalwork: Early Gold and Silver. This group of 126 works made £9,310,688 ($18,091,598), against a pre-sale estimate of £1.58 to £2.1 million. The top lot from this group was a fine and very rare 8th/9th century Tang Dynasty Parcel-Gilt Bowl and Cover which sold for £1,588,500 /$3,086,614 (est. £300,000 400,000).

The second component of the Kempe collection, a group of some 138 Early Chinese White, Green and Black Wares, realised £3,847,816 ($7,476,691) against a pre-sale estimate of £990,000 - £1.46 million. The top lot, a rare Northern Song Dynasty ‘Ding’ lobed bowl, sold for £636,500 / $1,236,783 (est. £200,000-300,000). This fine example of the superb stylistic achievements of these Ding wares was particularly unusual in that it was decorated with alternating ducks – symbolic of happy marriage – and lotus bloom.

In Hong Kong last month (April 2008), Sotheby’s offered additional works formerly from the Kempe Collection. Those works realised £11,145,335 ($21,986,402) bringing the combined total for property offered from this collection to £24,303,839 ($47,554,691).

The third component of yesterday’s sales – Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art from various sources – totalled £3,592,875 ($6,981,315) against a pre-sale estimate of £2.67 to £3.93 million. The top lot was a fine and large Blue and White Ming style Vase, which sold for £288,500 /$560,584 (est. £200,000-250,000.)

Further works formerly in the collection of Dr Johan Carl Kempe will be offered at Sotheby’s Paris on June 12, 2008. This sale, the last of those from this collection, will be dedicated to Ming and Qing ceramics.

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