Chinese porcelain is a highlight of Olympia sale

Items of blue and white Chinese porcelain with historic provenance, notably the dukes of Westminster, the earls of Gosford, the earls of Elgin and Kincardine and the counts of Raben, will be a highlight of the Asian and Islamic works of art auction at London’s Olympia Auctions this month.

The collection of blue and white Chinese porcelain was begun twenty-five years ago, to decorate the dining room of an 18th-century house in Covent Garden. A mix of Chinese, Japanese and Delft blue and white, it was arrayed on open shelves and coral brackets over black lacquer and dark grey panelling, designed to reflect and absorb candlelight. Additional purchases of Kangxi porcelain in Islamic style were made around 2010 for the owner’s apartment in Paris.

The 294-lot sale also includes the collection of Louisa Service O.B.E., who died in 2021. Her life was devoted to working voluntarily in promoting girls’ education, encouraging youth interest in music and her work as a J.P. She also had a great interest in art and antiques and many items from her collection are being offered in Olympia’s Asian and European sales taking place this spring. Of particular interest are two paintings by the celebrated Bengali artist, Jamini Roy (1887–1972), whose characteristic folk art inspired paintings are now highly sought after in India and across the world. In addition, from her collection is a fine Ming Celadon dish from the Longquan kilns.

Also noteworthy are a group of Islamic tiles from two private collections. Some are from the same collection sold at Olympia Auctions in 2020 which also includes the Chinese porcelain in this sale, and the others are from an enthusiast in the west of England who has been collecting mostly Damascus tiles over the last three decades.

Antique Damascus tile

There is also an interesting collection of Gandharan sculpture from the collection of a late diplomat, now being sold by his family. The Greco-Roman influence in the art of this region which flourished in the 3rd and 4th centuries A.D. dates back centuries earlier to the invasion of Alexander the Great. Although Buddhism was the inspiration for this surge of artistic activity, the sculptural style and much of the decorative detail would have been very familiar to Europeans of the time.

The sale takes place on April 26.