A Chinese vase that was used to prop open a door in a West Midlands home could make £1 million at auction, according to Derbyshire auction house, Hansons.
The Chinese blue and white vase was uncovered by the auction firm’s Associate Director, Adrian Rathbone, in the home where it had been used as a door stop for many years. Adrian said, “On examining it, I was quite surprised at how big it was at 66cm high. Painted in blue, I was particularly mesmerised by the character mark on the base of the vase.”
After a period of careful assessment a guide price has been set on the vase of between at £300,000 – £500,000.
“It just has the chance of topping £1 million”, said Charles Hanson, “if a battle between the Far Eastern heavyweight collectors takes off.” He continued, “It is a quite spell bounding vase. Made in China during the reign of Emperor Qianlong (1735-99), the vase was just possibly manufactured by the Imperial kilns for the Emperor’s Summer Palace. Of hexagonal outline it is brilliantly painted in tones of cobalt blue. With boughs of pomegranate and peach alternating with flowering branches, it is a work of art, painted with the Qianlong mark to the base.”
Numerous items of important Chinese porcelain were removed from China during the 19th century, but today it is being returned home thanks to the purchasing power of the country’s growing number of wealthy collectors. Charles said, “Pedigree and provenance is so important in a market today where later copies can easily deceive the more cautious collector. The provenance of this vase is good. Our client inherited the vase from a Great Aunt who had acquired it during her life in Cornwall in the 1920s.”
He continued, “The manner of the vase’s decoration was inspired by artists working on porcelain in the Yongzheng period (1723-1735). The design became one of the most favoured designs for all the noble Palaces in the period by his son Emperor Qianlong.”
A similar vase can be found in the Nanjing Museum in China and important other museum and private collections. The vase’s pattern incorporates clear design influences from the European baroque, and elegantly combines the traditional ‘heaped and piled’ effect of much earlier Ming blue and whites.
“The vase will find its price level”, commented Mr Hanson, “and ‘whatever it makes’, as an auctioneer it is the theatre and drama I thrive on. Our country is awash with fascinating treasures languishing in homes and sometimes such remarkable finds can be life-changing for a client. I have always dreamed of bringing my gavel down on a £1 million lot, and this could perhaps be the one!”