ST. PETERSBURG, FLA.- Myers Auction Gallery
presents European and Asian Antiques and Fine Art auction on Sunday, March 8th. The auction features rare Chinese porcelains from the collection of Dr. James Ward Hall (1849-1908), dentist to the Chinese Imperial Emperor Guangxu who reigned from 1875 to 1908. Among the highlights from the collection are an 18th century Kangxi period porcelain Yen Yen vase, a Chinese Qing dynasty Imperial silk embroidered rank badge, and a 19th century Hawthorne ginger jar that is actually pictured in an 1880s photograph of the interior of Dr. James Ward Halls residence in Shanghai.
Dr. James Ward Hall (1849-1908) graduated Missouri Dental College in 1876 and was named professor of surgical and operative dentistry in 1878 - Worlds Columbia Dental Congress. At the solicitation of a friend, he moved to Shanghai, China in 1878 and began a lucrative dental practice becoming dentist to the Emperor of China. Dr. J. Ward Hall resided in Shanghai for the rest of his life, some thirty years. And in the ensuing years amassed an impressive collection of Chinese antiques, some possibly gifts from the Chinese Imperial Emperor Guangxu (1875-1908). Dr. Hall beautifully displayed the collection throughout his Shanghai residence.
In a May 16, 1907 letter Thomas Barbour of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University recounts being introduced to the American dentist Dr. Ward Hall in his 1913 book Letters Written While On A Collecting Trip in the East Indies. He describes Dr. Ward Hall as
a collector of old Chinese things and I never saw or imagined anything so filled to overflowing with attractive things as his house is. He has in one room a screen over fifteen feet high of dark wood heavily and magnificently carved with dragons, birds, clouds, bats, flowers, etc. and panels of mosaic silk, which looked like the finest embroidery. This came from an old emperors palace. Barbour goes on to describe the collection
.. of old China and porcelain, bronze incense burners and oil vessels
..He has been years and years collecting them.
Tragically, Dr. Hall took his own life by shooting himself with his revolver on September 28th, 1908. It was reported that his rash act was the result of temporary insanity. He had been bitten by a dog, and fearing hydrophobia, was driven to self-destruction, as reported in The Straits Times, October 7 1908.
After his death in 1908, Dr. Halls sister Mrs. Clifford Hall Jordan of Chicago inherited much of the collection. She and her husband Scott Jordan, president of C. H. Jordan & Co., Funeral Directors, (a firm established in 1854 that handled arrangements when Abraham Lincolns body was brought to Chicago in 1865), displayed the collection of fine Chinese antiquities in their gilded age stone mansion in the Edgewater District on Lake Michigan in Chicago. The collection was passed down to their only child, W. Beaumont Jordan (1898-1973) and then on to his family descendants.
Included with all items from the collection will be copies of photographs from the late 1880s showing the interior of Dr. J. Ward Halls Shanghai home and part of his vast collection. Also included will be original circa 1920s stationary cards from the Jordan estate bearing the Jordan family Scottish heraldic coat of arms and family crest embossed in rich color. Hall and Jordan family members emigrated from England to Massachusetts in the 1600s, eventually settling in Piqua, Ohio.