Contents of prestigious Chinese art dealership to be offered at Bonhams London

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Contents of prestigious Chinese art dealership to be offered at Bonhams London
An Underglaze Blue and Yellow-Ground Dragon and Ruyi Bowl. Kangxi six-character mark and of the period (1662-1722). Estimate: £30,000 – 50,000. Photo: Bonhams.

LONDON.- Bonhams has been instructed to auction the entire contents of the long-established London Chinese art dealership Roger Keverne Ltd in two dedicated single-owner Chinese art auctions to be held in New Bond Street, London. The first part will be held on 11 May and the second and final part will be held in June 2021.

To be sold at no reserve, the two sales comprise over 800 lots celebrating the broad range of Chinese ceramics, archaic and later bronzes, jades, lacquer, cloisonné and painted enamel, and other works of art in which the distinguished London dealer Roger Keverne specialised for over 50 years.

Roger Keverne is the editor of the authoritative book Jade published in 1991, and was a Governor of Compton Verney House Trust (one of the top three collections of early Chinese bronzes in Europe). He worked tirelessly to maintain the highest standards in trade in Chinese art, serving twice as Chairman of ‘Asian Art in London’, and serving as Chairman on the Oriental vetting committees of the Grosvenor House Antiques Fair and the Winter Antiques Show, New York, and on the committees of, among others, the Paris Biennale, the Brussels Art Fair, PAD London and the Andamans Fair, Hong Kong and currently serving as President of BADA.

Keverne, the younger child of a Yorkshire coal-mining engineer, began his 50-year career of dealing in Chinese art with the celebrated dealers Spink & Son Ltd in London, rising to head the Asian departments by the age of only 28. He left Spink in 1992 to start his own business together with Miranda Clarke, his wife and business partner, and for many years dealt from his gallery at 16 Clifford St, Mayfair, London, which closed its doors in June 2020.

Roger Keverne counted Royal patrons amongst his clients, including Gustav VI Adolf, King of Sweden, as well as counselling Sir Geoffrey de Bellaigue, Director of the Royal Collection and Surveyor of The Queen’s Works of Art. Other illustrious collectors among his clients were John D. Rockefeller III and subsequently David Rockefeller, Florence and Herbert Irving (who generously donated much of their collection to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York), Gerald Arnhold (part of this collection is now exhibited in the Oriental Museum, Durham University), Mrs Alfred Clark, T.T. Tsui, Muneichi Nitta, Edward T. Chow, T.Y. Chao, Soame Jenyns, Sir John Woolf, Sir Michael Butler and Sir Peter Moores (whom Roger Keverne advised on purchasing the famous Albright-Knox fangjia for US$8.104 million). Notwithstanding these lofty associations, Roger Keverne was well known for warmly welcoming into his gallery all manner of younger collectors, Chinese art enthusiasts, scholars and students, with all of whom he enjoyed drinking Chinese tea, and sharing his knowledge, collecting stories and famous sense of humour.

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