The Damien Parson Collection of Asian Art at Chilcotts

A comprehensive collection of Asian Art, including ceramics, furniture and paintings, will go under the hammer at Chilcotts Auctioneers in Honiton, Devon on April 13.

The Damien Parsons Collection was gathered by one man over many decades, purchased from exhibitions and other collections. A dedicated lover of the visual arts, Parson’s interest was sparked early on after he and his wife, celebrated poet Patricia Beer, inherited some pieces of Chinese porcelain.

Amongst the vast array of beautiful Chinese and Japanese ceramics, the most important items are contained within a standalone collection of porcelain pieces depicting the Daoist flower basket, the emblem of Lan Ts’ai-ho. One of the eight immortals in Daoism, Lan Ts’ai-ho is always depicted holding a basket of flowers and is considered to be the ‘matron’ of florists. The Daoist flower basket collection comprises 82 items, ranging from vases to chargers, and dating between 1620 and 1920.

Also included in the collection are two unusual porcelain plates from Russia. These were made during the Russian Revolution in 1919, at the renamed State Porcelain Manufactory in St Petersburg. Known as ‘agitation porcelain’ one of the plates is of particular significance; it depicts stark factory chimneys from a design by Nina Zander and bears the hammer, sickle and cog mark. The plate is estimated at £1,000 to £1,500.

The collection has been catalogued by auctioneer, Mary Chilcott, who said: “It’s quite unusual for such a big collection to come to market like this, especially from just one collector and we’re expecting some keen interest from Chinese buyers as well as London dealers. There’s an assumption that the collector must have travelled lots – but in fact he was simply fascinated by Asian art and bought the pieces whilst living quietly at his home in Devon.

“One of my personal favourite pieces is a Qing dynasty period famille rose porcelain vase from 1850 to 1880. This one is about 60cm high with exotic bird handles; it’s skilfully decorated all over with coloured enamels and gilt with Chinese figures, butterflies and flora. What is so real about the vase is that a long time ago it was badly damaged, in fact almost smashed to pieces. But whoever owned it loved it so much that they had it repaired at great expense using over 70 metal staples to join all the parts together again!”

The Damien Parsons collection to be offered at Chilcotts totals around 500 pieces; they will be sold in individual and group lots. Viewing is available for three days from April 10 prior to the sale on Saturday April 13 at the Dolphin Sale Room in Honiton High Street, which starts at 10am.