Highly prized Chinese antiquities at Melbourne auction

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 1st May, 2023

Four highly prized items in Melbourne-based Christian McCann Auctions forthcoming May sale will no doubt see serious collectors of Chinese antiquities keen to raise their auction paddles once bidding begins in earnest.

Two of the lots – a large an important Qing dynasty (1644-1911) jade seal with ‘He Tian Jasper’ written on the base (lot 102) and an exceptional archaic bronze lidded two-handed water vessel (lot 103) – are carrying individual catalogue estimates of $150,000-$225,000.

The other two lots – a possible early signed Ming dynasty (1368-1644) porcelain lidded vase (lot 100) and an important bowl from the same era (lot 101) – are each listed at $50,000-$75,000 estimates.

The auction will start at 12pm Sunday May 7 at 7 Harper Street, Abbotsford featuring 572 lots before 61-lot jewellery sale begins at 6pm with a Tiffany & Co platinum double cluster ring (lot 58) as the main highlight.

Both the Ming and Qing dynasties are important in Chinese history. China’s population doubled during the former which was known for its trade expansion and establishing cultural ties with Western civilisations along with drama, literature and world-renowned porcelain.

The Qing dynasty continued to expand the Chinese empire as the population grew from 150 million to 450 million. Strong centralised government under the emperor supported by a well organised political structure was a significant factor in maintaining Chinese unity.

Auction goers will be impressed with the significant number of quality furniture pieces at the sale including an important 18th century English nine-drawer mahogany kneehole desk (lot 16), a George III English Sheraton satinwood three-drawer two-door bombe cabinet (lot 183) and an outstanding 19th century French kingwood single drawer centre table with fruitwood and satinwood marquetry inlay (lot 234).  

An exceptional and rare pair of 18th century French lidded vases signed by Le Bel (lot 32) and referenced on page 588 of English antiquary and writer of reference works on hallmarks William Chaffers’ (1811-1892) authoritative handbook “The Concise Marks and Monograms on Pottery and Porcelain”, first published in 1863, is a fine example of the porcelain on offer.  

Of palatial proportions is a 19th century English carved mahogany wall clock, signed by Bruford & Son, Eastbourne, with eight bells and five gongs (lot 194), while an important Wedgewood fairy land lustre octagonal shaped bowl attributed to Daisy Makeig-Jones (lot 150) is bound to attract plenty of admiring glances.

Among the paintings on offer is David Boyd’s (1924-2011) Untitled (lot 171) and Charles Blackman’s (1928-2018) Garden (lot 177).

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