London will present for sale an exceptional range of Imperial porcelain, monochrome ceramics, bronzes and jades in its biannual sale of Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art on Wednesday, 9th November 2011. The auction will comprise 560 lots, estimated to realise in the region of £12 million. Highlights include a superb gilt-bronze and cloisonné enamel tiger waterpot of Qianlong mark and period from the collection of Sir Peter Moores at Parbold Hall in Lancashire and a magnificent group of Qing dynasty monochrome porcelains from the renowned collection of Richard Fairfax William Cartwright at Aynhoe Park near Banbury.
Stephen Loakes, Sotheby‟s Senior Specialist in Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art said: This promises to be one of our most exciting London sales - offering objects of the highest quality and rarity. This season we are honoured to present works from two of Britains greatest collectors of Chinese works of art. The prestigious and diverse pieces from Sir Peter Moores private collection at Parbold Hall, represent his passionate and scholarly approach to the field over some 50 years. Richard Fairfax William Cartwrights exquisite monochromes delighted visitors to Aynhoe Park for decades and will present collectors with the opportunity to acquire pieces of the most refined and ravishing glazes.
From the collection of Sir Peter Moores comes a magnificent gilt-bronze cloissoné enamel tiger waterpot and cover, Qianlong mark and period, estimated at £200,000-300,000. Cloisonné enamel wares of this period are renowned for their quality and this superb example, taking the form of a menacing tiger, was inspired by archaic bronze vessels of the Six Dynasties period following the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD). The water pot originated from the collection of General Charles George Gordon (1833-1885), whose valiant defence of Shanghai during the Taiping uprising earned him the highest honour of titu in the Chinese army. Other examples of cloisonné enamel animal-form vessels can be found at the Palace Museum in Beijing. Also from Sir Peter Moore‟s renowned collection of ancient Chinese bronzes, Sotheby‟s is delighted to offer for sale a rare archaic bronze ritual food vessel, Yan, on a tripod stand, dating from the early Western Zhou dynasty, estimated at £120,000-180,000.
The Collection of Richard Cartwright
Richard Fairfax William Cartwright‟s (1903-1954) Chinese porcelain collection was kept for many years at Aynhoe Park, the Oxfordshire estate owned by his family since 1616. Cartwright began acquiring fine early Qing dynasty monochrome porcelains in the 1930s. To fund these purchases, his daughter recalls his habit of stowing small change in a drawer each day, until sufficient funds had accumulated for a worthwhile trip to London. He designated a special exhibition room at Aynhoe devoted to his monochromes and displayed them in recessed cases, each dedicated to a particular colour group. Seventeen rare, exquisitely vibrant eighteenth century Imperial monochromes from Cartwright‟s collection feature in the sale, (with a combined estimate in excess of £1 million) including wares in yellow, robin‟s egg blue and vibrant green. The highlight, a rare crimson-pink glazed chrysanthemum dish of Qianlong mark and period, is estimated at £80,000-120,000.
An extraordinary large Doucai Lotus and Bats jar and cover of Qianlong mark and period (estimated at £300,000-500,000) is a masterpiece. Its large body is magnificently decorated with an ornate composition of bats in mid-flight and lotus scrolls in rich doucai enamels. Wares decorated in this manner were appreciated during the Qing dynasty for their understated elegance. In this case, the sumptuous quality of the vase is accentuated by the restrained use of gilt paint and reflects the exceptional standard of quality of its period.
A rare 16th/17th century Tibetan silver and copper inlaid parcel-gilt figure of a Karmapa, is estimated at £120,000-150,000. The fine and intricately cast sculpture represents the Ninth Karmapa Wanchuk Dorje, one of the most important figures of the Kagyu Order in Tibetan Buddhism. The use of parcel-gilt decoration for the robe is highly decorative and unusual. The adoration of brightly coloured deities has a long tradition in Tibetan Buddhism, where sculptures were frequently painted or adorned with precious stones. The technique of parcel-gilt decoration, combined with luxurious silver and copper inlay was undoubtedly employed to enhance the importance and beauty of this piece.
A magnificent matched pair of blue and white soldier vases and covers, Qing dynasty, Kangxi period, from Dunecht House in Scotland, is estimated at £100,000-150,000. Soldier vases of such large form and complex design required technical virtuosity, not only in terms of potting, but also in their firing. The form of these vases was particularly in tune with late 17th century Baroque taste and the blue and white pieces were highly prized in Europe. Such was the popularity of these extravagant vases, that according to legend, the term soldier vases‟ was coined as a result of Augustus the Strong (King of Poland r.1697-1733) trading 600 of his soldiers for 150 vases. Closely related vases are held in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Staatlliche Kunstammungen, Dresden.