A stunning 18th-century Qing Dynasty Imperial ‘chicken’ cup, discovered in an attic where it had been forgotten for over 30 years, is to sell in a London auction house with hopes it could sell for more than £20,000.
Decorated with a cockerel and hen group and two chicks, the cup was made in tribute to the 15th-century Imperial chicken cup sold by Sotheby’s, which holds the record price for a piece of Chinese porcelain (£21.5 million). It will be offered in Chiswick Auctions Asian Art sale on November 12.
Lazarus Halstead, Head of Chiswick Auctions Asian Art Department, said, “We are delighted to offer this Qing Dynasty Imperial interpretation of 15th-century Chenghua chicken cup. This version bears an -apocryphal Chenghua mark, but the design of the cockerel, chicken and chicks is charmingly re-imagined for 18th century Imperial taste.”
This is the first time for 50 years that the cup, which was discovered in a box in a dusty attic, has been seen on the market. The beautifully-crafted piece has come from a private European collection acquired during the 1940s/50s.
18th century Imperial porcelain such as this example can often make hundreds of thousands of pounds, but as this one is slightly damaged, the auction house has given it a conservative pre-sale estimate of £5,000-£8,000.
However, such is the overwhelming interest in registering for the auction in relation to this piece already, that expert Lazarus Halstead has said he expects the cup to make in excess of £20,000. Halstead said: “This is a rare opportunity for collectors to own an 18th century version of the most iconic piece of Chinese porcelain ever made”.