Occasionally, you see an object which seems particularly beautiful, an object which deeply intrigues. That’s what I thought when I saw this extraordinary sky blue jar with cobalt blue and white slip ‘dragon and cloud’ decoration in the St James’s premises of Littleton & Hennessy during Asian Art in London.
It is so extraordinary that I somehow thought there must be an interesting story behind such an unusual piece. And, indeed, there is . . . Mark Slaats, of L&H, tells me the piece was formerly in the Collection of Thomas English Cody (1889-1948), whose great-uncle was the famous Buffalo Bill Cody. Buffalo Bill Cody may have brought the Wild West to American audiences; Thomas English Cody brought the Far East to America. In the 1930s, the singer and actor was an avid collector of of Chinese porcelain and hardstone objects and he took his collection to the US, where it was recently dispersed.
The sky blue jar illustrated above has now returned to the UK courtesy of L&H. A modest 19cm in height, it is, nevertheless, a stunning piece. And it bears to the base labels from important exhibitions. More details from firstname.lastname@example.org.