‘Fantastic’ vase with seven figure estimate fails to sell in Glasgow

Mulberry Bank vase

High hopes were dashed today at Glasgow’s Mulberry Bank Auctions as their much vaunted sale of an Imperial yellow Jiaqing vase failed to take off. Estimated at £1.5-2m., the bidding started on the telephone at £650,000. Two telephone bidders were pitted against each other but bidding was slow and petered out at £780,000. Internet bidding was not allowed, which may have been a mistake.

The Glasgow auctioneer, who had repeatedly described the vase as ‘a fantastic piece’, was palpably disappointed and advised the room ‘this is just not going to be enough’. He added, ‘Please contact us after the sale.’

The auctioneers had sent out more than a dozen information packs all over the world. They also averred that it was just as good as a similar vase sold in Hong Kong by Christies at £9m. That may or may not be the case but one London dealer, who did not bid, told us that, in his opinion, ‘the decoration is not that good’.

Mulberry Bank will doubtless hope that it can be sold by private treaty in the coming days. It is understood to have a reserve in the region of £1m.

Mulberry Bank vase base Mulberry Bank vase mark

The catalogue entry for the vase reads as follows:

VERY RARE EARLY JAIQING (1796 – 1820) IMPERIAL CHINESE YELLOW GROUND FAMILLE ROSE BOTTLE VASE BEARING QIANLONG BLUE FOUR CHARACTER SEALMARK Profusely decorated in colourful enamels with four large blossoming lotus around the lower body, the neck with iron red and blue bats suspending intertwined wan emblems, ruyi and further lotus, all on a lemon yellow ground, with out-curved shaped rim decorated with ruyi, raised on a circular foot decorated with petals, the base bearing labels for ‘Dartington Hall Chinese Exhibition 1965’ and ‘J.A.G. Saunders Collection – 631’, 32.5cm high Notes The vase dates from the very early Jiaqing reign but bears the Qianlong mark, which was not uncommon on these early transitional pieces. Turned-down ruyi mouths of this type are rare on porcelain vessels, as they would have been difficult to make and fire successfully. These mouths seen on Ming and Qing dynasty porcelains may ultimately derive from the vases with lobed turned-down mouths made in the 12th and 13th centuries. The distinctive ruyi shape of the mouth on vessels such as the current vase appears to be a Qianlong innovation, an example of which can be seen in the Palace Museum Beijing. A very similar example was sold by Christie’s as part of the Fonthill Collection. It was sold on 1st December 2010 in Hong Kong as lot 2981and achieved HKD90,260,000. The similarity between the two vases could even suggest that they are from the same kiln and potter. The decoration on the vase includes various auspicious emblems: upside-down bats symbolising the arrival of happiness. This happiness is multiplied by the wan characters, meaning ten thousand, which hang from the ribbons. These same ribbons are slotted through ruyi, from which in turn lotus blossoms are suspended. The ruyi symbolises ‘everything as you wish’, while the lotus is a Buddhist symbol of purity and beauty. Provenance J.A.G Saunders Collection label – Sir John Saunders CBE, DSO, MC (1917-2002) was chairman of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation from 1962 – 1972. Sold in 1982 to a private collector by renowned American dealer Charlie Gerhardt.

THIS LOT IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR ONLINE BIDDING PLEASE CONTACT THE AUCTION HOUSE DIRECTLY ON 0141 225 8181 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION.

 

 

The saddest sale of the year? Mallett takes stock

lot 35 mallett sale

It must be the saddest sale of the year. Simply titled Mallett:Taking Stock the once great retail emporium, located on London’s elite New Bond Street and New York’s plush Madison Avenue, is disposing of the rest of its retail stock at Dreweatt’s Donnington Priory saleroom on November 8.

Unsurprisingly, there are many extraordinary and quite beautiful Asian pieces in the sale. What is surprising, however, are the staggeringly low estimates. Our eye has particularly been taken by Lot 35, a Chinese export carved bone model of a pagoda (illustrated above) which is well catalogued – and estimated at just a ludicrous £100-200! It is difficult to see the logic in this. It would seem to us to be worth a very substantial four figure sum, if not more, or are we missing something? Look at the catalogue description:

Ω A rare Chinese export carved bone model of a pagoda, 19th century, with seven storeys , each level intricately carved with pierced walls and gallery with a fluted roof hung with gilt pendant bells, of each room centred by a small figure, the base within a fenced stylised polychrome garden with an elaborately carved and decorated gateway, with a group of painted figures carrying ceremonial batons, retaining the original pine stand, 61cm high 26cm wide, 20cm deep, with losses and damage
During the 19th century, the principal centre in China for the manufacture of export wares such as the present lot was the city of Guangzou (or Canton as it would be known in the West after the 1839-1842 Opium War). Situated on the Pearl River delta near the South China Sea. Canton was culturally and economically the most important city in south China, and a hub of trade in all manner of artefacts, including ivory.
By the middle of the eighteenth century, it had become fashionable for English landed gentry to create decorative buildings and follies in their gardens and estates, particularly of eastern design. Perhaps the most notable English example is the pagoda at Kew Gardens of 1761-2, built as a surprise for Princess Augusta, the Dowager Princess of Wales and mother of George III. The designer, Sir William Chambers, had worked previously as an employee of the Swedish East India Company, during which time he spent several months in Canton. Whilst there he made architectural drawings of typical buildings which he later published as a book of Designs of Chinese Buildings (1757). His pagoda at Kew was very well received, and went on to inspire further examples, such as the three-storey version built at Alton Towers in the 1820s.
Please note, this lot may be subject to CITES regulations if exported from the EU.

Associated with the sale is a private treaty opportunity to acquire a famous Qing dynasty ivory and lacquer six-fold screen owned by Mallett and loaned to the V&A from 1965-81. This important property deicts episodes from the classic work Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

Presently the Mallett business remains part of the troubled Stanley Gibbons group. Untril very recently, Dreweatts were also part of the group but have just been bought out by investment business Gurr Johns. Mallett was acquired in 2014 by the Stanley Gibbons Group for around £9m. but has, arguably, failed to adapt successfully to new trends in purchasing which have swung sharply away from the retail environment.

 

Chiswick eagerly anticipate Huang Binhong sale

Paintings by the Chinese Modernist master Huang Binhong are rarely offered at auction in London and fierce bidding is expected for a work to be offered at Chiswick Auctions on November 13 during Asian Art in London..

Included in the top 10 ranking artists sold at auction internationally, alongside Picasso, Warhol and Monet, for the first half of 2017; his painting Yellow Mountain sold for a record 345 million yuan (US$50.5 million) at China Guardian Auctions’ sale in Beijing (Artprice.com, Aug 2017).

Huang-smaller-version

Ink and wash painting by Huang Binhong to be offered at Chiswick Auctions

Of course, if Chiswick were to knock down their offering, entitled simply Landscape, for a price in ths range then the sale would fit very nicely into their current expansion programme, which includes the estabishment of a central London showroom in the wake of the sudden closure of Chrsties South Kensington.

An internationally recognised master of 20th Century Chinese ink painting, prices for works by Huang Binhong have sky-rocketed in recent years and his reputation as a world-class modernist artist has been truly cemented.

His work innovatively combines Eastern traditions with influences from Impressionist and Modernist art, visible in his use of light and free brushwork.

The painting offered at Chiswick Auctions depicts the landscape of Xuancheng (宣城), a city in North East Anhui Province in China. The work was acquired by the present owner from the successful Chinese businessman Mr. David Lau (Lau Chi Man).

Chiswick Auctions is the only London saleroom to offer dedicated sales of Chinese Paintings.

Head of Asian Art, Lazarus Halstead, commented: “Since opening our Fine Chinese Paintings department there has been an overwhelming response from collectors wishing to consign and buy fine and rare works by Chinese artists.”

The November sale also includes works by 20th Century masters Qi Baishi, Pu Ru and the female artist Fang Zhaoling, as well as classical works attributed to Wang Jian and Ba Da Shan Ren.

Hide away your ivory! Beleagurerd British government announces U-turn ban on historic ivory

mallams-550

The beleagured British government in the person of Environment Secretary Michael Gove, hardly the sharpest knife in the drawer of a decidedly dim and declining political regime, has today announced it will imminently ban all trading in virtually all antique ivory.

This incredible U-turn in policy has been made by a government quite possibly on its last legs before it is forced to face the electorate. Apparently, government advisers have told it that if it wishes to pander to the younger members of the electrorate it must proceed with a number of palliative meeasures, including a vifrtually total ban on the sale of historic worked ivory previously regarded as part of the national heiitage of Britain.

Worse still, it is tonight rumoured that private collections of beautiful historic ivory pieces may be seized for salutary public destruction. Tbis appalling prospect means that private owners may be best advised to hide away some of their most treasured possessions before the political police arrive at their door at the dead of night.

Apparently Gove himself possesses a piano with ivory keys and the Minister may have to allow in the piano smashers! Shame on the UK government!

Bonhams appoints Jessica Zhang as China representative

JZ II

Jessica Zhang, just appointed Bonhams China representative.                                 Photo courtesy Bonhams

Bonhams, the international auction house, has announced the appointment of Jessica Zhang as its representative in mainland China, with immediate effect. She will be based in Beijing with a brief to build the Bonhams brand throughout the country.

Bonhams is, of course, on of the ‘Big Three’ auction houses in the UK and, alongside rivals Sotheby’s and Christie’s, is seeking to make inroads into the China market which enjoys tremendous untapped potential. All the auction houses are adopting different strategies and Bonhams has clearly decided to identify itself as using Chinese talent as opposed to entering into occasional sales and ‘tax free’ deals.

Bonhams Executive Director in Asia, Edward Wilkinson, said, “I am delighted to welcome Jessica to the Bonhams team. Her impressive experience in luxury brand building signals our commitment to expand the Bonhams brand throughout China. This important role requires a mould-breaker and I believe we have found that in Jessica.”

Jessica Zhang commented, “I am very excited by this new challenge. The Bonhams name is respected throughout the world and I am looking forward to using my knowledge and experience to build its profile in China and enable new and existing Chinese collectors to become better acquainted with the wide range of services offered by Bonhams around the world.”

Jessica has a strong background in brand management and the marketing of luxury lifestyle. As managing director of Quintessentially China – a provider of tailored luxury services for high net-worth individuals – she established the business in China and was responsible for its branding, marketing and strategic planning. Jessica graduated in International Trade, is a native Mandarin speaker and fluent in English.

 

19th century Chinese console table flies high in Perth saleroom

Lindsay Burns lot 81

A 19th century Chinese console table substantially exceeded expectations September 5 in Perth, Scotland, at Lindsay Burns’ Antiques and Fine Art Sale. It was one of a large number of lots of Chinese furniture: estimated at £4-6,000 (which seemed rather  optimistic to us), it was knocked down, after a long contest between two telephone bidders, at £19,500 hammer. Lindsay Burns were tight lipped on the matter of the successful purchaser apart from saying it went to ‘a private buyer’ and not to the trade.

At 152 x 76.5 x 63cm. it was certainly a substantial piece of heavy furniture and was intricately carved in dark wood and with a mottled red and white marble insert (typical of all those ubiquitous 19th century low urn stands and jardiniere stands). Otherwise, it was fairly undistinguished, there was some small damage to the wood and serious damage to the marble top in the form of a couple of cracks running through its entire width.

It emanated most probably from central/Highland Scotland and it is, of course, entirely possible that it enjoyed some previous outstanding provenance identified by the bidders. Otherwise, the reasoning behind an inclusive cost of £25,000 is puzzling . . .

Lindsay Burns lot 81a

Christies sale features nine decades of dealing in Chinese art across four generations

The Marchant dynasty: Four generations in Chinese art

Richard Marchant reflects on his family’s extraordinary 92-year connection with porcelain and jade ahead of Christie’s important New York Sale Marchant: Nine Decades in Chinese Art on 14 September.

‘It’s quite remarkable that we’ve been going for four generations,’ observes Richard Marchant, sitting in the office of the gallery opened by his father in the early 1950s. Samuel Sydney Marchant opened his first antiques shop on Cursitor Street, near Chancery Lane in London, in 1925, with a mission to trade in only the finest and rarest objects with impeccable provenance. In 1952 the shop moved to new premises on Kensington Church Street and, with Richard joining the business a year later, the firm began to specialise in Ming and Qing dynasty works of art, particularly porcelain and jade.

‘I was 17,’ Richard Marchant recalls. ‘My father took me into the business with him, and after one year he said, “You can go out buying”. You have to remember that at that time, antiques were everywhere. My father would send me to auctions at Christie’s, and it meant that I had to touch, and feel, every lot in the sale. It was a fantastic time to learn.’

A superb large Longquan celadon bracket-lobed dish, early Ming dynasty, late 14th-early 15th century. 19 in (48.2 cm) high. Estimate $300,000-400,000. This lot is offered in Marchant Nine Decades in Chinese Art on 14 September 2017 at Christie’s in New York

A superb large Longquan celadon bracket-lobed dish, early Ming dynasty, late 14th-early 15th century. 19 in (48.2 cm) high. Estimate: $300,000-400,000. This lot is offered in Marchant: Nine Decades in Chinese Art on 14 September 2017 at Christie’s in New York

In 1985 Richard’s own son, Stuart, joined the family business, and in 2011 and 2015 Stuart’s two children, Natalie and Samuel, also came on board, establishing an art-dealing dynasty that spans almost a century. On 14 September in New York, collectors will have the opportunity to be a part of the remarkable Marchant family story with the sale of just over 50 bronzes, jades and ceramics in the sale Marchant: Nine Decades in Chinese Art.

An exceptional large parcel-gilt-bronze tripod censer, Xuande Yuannian mark corresponding to 1426, Ming Dynasty, 15th-17th century. 12 in. (30.5 cm.) diam. Estimate $70,000-90,000. This lot is offered in Marchant Nine Decades in Chinese Art on 14 September 2017 at Christie’s in New York
An exceptional large parcel-gilt-bronze tripod censer, Xuande Yuannian mark corresponding to 1426, Ming Dynasty, 15th-17th century. 12 in. (30.5 cm.) diam. Estimate: $70,000-90,000. This lot is offered in Marchant: Nine Decades in Chinese Art on 14 September 2017 at Christie’s in New York

 

Across the decades, Marchant has observed radical changes in the nature of collecting Asian works. Where once clients were mostly European and American private collectors, today a large proportion of the business comes from the Far East, with clients keen to acquire works of art from their own heritage.

‘At the moment the main collectors, there’s no question, are from China,’ the dealer says, before offering advice to those setting out on their collecting journey. ‘Young collectors have to concentrate in a specific area. And there are areas that can be neglected by the market. We’ve seen this over the years — pieces that weren’t very popular, all of a sudden, become  popular.’

A Dehua figure of Guanyin with a scroll, Ming dynasty, early 17th century, impressed He Chaozong mark within a double gourd. 7¼ in (18.4 cm) high. Estimate $50,000-70,000. This lot is offered in Marchant Nine Decades in Chinese Art on 14 September 2017 at Christie’s in New York
A Dehua figure of Guanyin with a scroll, Ming dynasty, early 17th century, impressed He Chaozong mark within a double gourd. 7¼ in (18.4 cm) high. Estimate: $50,000-70,000. This lot is offered in Marchant: Nine Decades in Chinese Art on 14 September 2017 at Christie’s in New York
A massive and superbly-decorated famille rose baluster jar and cover, Yongzheng period (1723-35). 31⅞ in (81 cm) high. Estimate $80,000-120,000. This lot is offered in Marchant Nine Decades in Chinese Art, 14 September 2017 at Christies New York
A massive and superbly-decorated famille rose baluster jar and cover, Yongzheng period (1723-35). 31⅞ in (81 cm) high. Estimate: $80,000-120,000. This lot is offered in Marchant: Nine Decades in Chinese Art, 14 September 2017 at Christie’s New York

 

‘I feel very privileged to be able to handle pieces that have survived through hundreds of years, knowing that so many previous collectors have loved them,’ he reflects, while examining ‘a very special piece’, an an early Ming, Yongle period (1403-1425) dish. ‘It’s contagious, the love of these objects.’

Reproduced courtesy of Christies.com The sale takes place in New York on Thursday September 14

Edinburgh Chinese Festival puts on glittering show

Chinese Arts & Culture Fest 17 best (1)

The Chinese Arts and Culture Festival, which now forms part of The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, was held over two days earlier this week. The Festival, which was launched last year, provided the opportunity to see a series of top quality Chinese displays of dramatic art.:a unique opportunity for visitors to and residents of Scotland. Plans are already in hand to mount the event again next year.

Below we feature photographs of some of the performances.

DSCN3370

Apologue 2047 was in the nature of a more experimental work of performance art. Here traditional musicians from Fujian province accompany dancers sealed in a transparent oblong box over which blue paint was sprayed. Photo Paul Harris

Chinese Arts & Culture Fest 17 best (5)

A scene from the opera The Drunken Concubine presented by Wuhan Peking Opera Group and which was marked by by stunning, colourful costumes. Below Makeup and costume constituted a faultless contribution to the opera. Photo Paul Harris

Chinese Arts & Culture Fest 17 best (4)

Chinese Arts & Culture Fest 17 best (3)

A scene from another less than conventional presentation by Zhaoliang ART entitled The Tea Spell. It started with a woman, made up to simulate nudity clambering through the audience in acrobatic style ! Photo Paul Harris

Chinese Arts & Culture Fest 17 best (6)

Singing of China in Edinburgh was a charming presentation by children from the Beijing Shanghai Experimental School. They sang a variety of Chinese classical songs, finishing off, appropriately, with the famous Scottish valedictory Auld Lang Syne. Photo Paul Harris

Chinese Art in Scotland opens new showroom in Scottish Borders

Chinese art room June 23 2017 (1)lr             A view of the new showroom of Chinese Art in Scotland   

Chinese Art in Scotland (www.chineseartinscotland.co.uk), a sister business to this website, has just opened its new 78sq m showroom Chinese art showroom in the Scottish Borders. More than 250 works of Chinese art, encompassing porcelain, furniture, scrolls, paintings, bronzes and wooden sculptures, have gone on show in the Scottish Borders village of Coldingham. Coldingham is 20 minutes drive from the border town of Berwick upon Tweed, which is situated on the main East Coast rail line, in turn just three and a half hours travel from Kings Cross, London.

The showroom is located behind the Coldingham Gallery (www.coldinghamgallery.co.uk) which was established seven years ago by Paul and Sulee Harris. They are both part of the Paul Harris Asia Arts Group (www.paulharrisasiaarts.co.uk) which also includes the recently established Scottish Borders Auctions (www.scottishbordersauctions.co.uk). Another associated business, Coldingham Investments Ltd., bought Greenlaw Town Hall, a massive neo-classical pile, on May 31 this year and which is to become a Chinese porcelain museum and European headquarters for the Shanghai-based Hanguang Company.

Chinese art room June 23 2017 (3)lr At the end of the showroom can be seen the large porcelain statue of Mao Tse Tung, formerly to be seen in the Chinese Embassy in Rome and now offered by Chinese Art in Scotland at £500,000.  Photo by Paul Harris

 

Ullens collection of Chinese art goes online with reproductions available worldwide

Fang Lijun, Plate for Superganbei, Porcelain Plate         Fang Lijun Plate for Superganbei, porcelain

 

The Guy and Myriam Ullens Foundation has given exclusive access to the complete collection of its important limited editions to online platform ArtAndOnly.

Influential collectors Guy and Myriam Ullens changed the landscape of contemporary Chinese art with their acclaimed collection, a seminal gathering of works from the 1980s to the present. Their strategic and passionate accumulation of the best contemporary works from China is unmatched, and the Ullens Collection is internationally renowned. The Ullens have been patrons of the arts in China for over thirty years, and the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art has been at the hub of the contemporary art world in China since its inception.

In 2013, the Wall Street Journal estimated that the Ullens Collection numbered over one thousand works and individual pieces in the collection have broken sales records. The extensive reach of the collection encompasses works of extraordinary provenance, rarity, interest and skill. Guy Ullen’s passion to make these artworks appreciated, in their original forms, and through curated replication of key works to extend the reach of key artists and the genre, has been unrivalled. The most prominent artists of the Chinese contemporary art scene are represented in the new limited editions collection. The quality of reproduction has been tightly controlled for excellence with rxisting media faithfully replicated. 

and Sister, Photography Huang Yan Brother and Sister, Photography

The decision by the Ullens Foundation to offer the rights of the limited editions collection to ArtAndOnly is in line with Guy Ullen’s recognised desire to make the original work in the Ullens Collection known to, and accessible for, a global audience. The Ullens have been quoted as saying “Collecting is our passion; showing and sharing is our duty”. ArtAndOnly’s online viewing platform will further enhance the accessibility and awareness of these works – a key factor in the decision to partner on these sales.  

 Guy Ullens commented “Today’s technology is amazing and with the online buying phenomena through the internet, it means that everyone worldwide can have access to these pieces and not just those lucky ones travelling to China.  We are proud of our collaboration with Art and Only and look forward to reaching, through this state-of-the-art technology, the many collectors who like us have a passion, existing or yet to be discovered, for this work.” Prices range from the hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars. 

Frédéric de Senarclens of ArtAndOnly says “This is an opportunity for the art collector to obtain a piece of Chinese and artistic history. The Ullens Collection is the leading name in contemporary Chinese collecting. Securing the rights to sell the prints in this extraordinary collection to a global marketplace is an honour for ArtAndOnly and a terrific opportunity for our own collectors. Bringing the editions to ArtAndOnly means the works can be easily viewed and acquired by both existing and new contemporary Chinese arts enthusiasts.”

He An, Miss you, Sculpture

He An Miss You, Sculpture

Guy Ullens adds “It is our ambition to allow every art lover to have the opportunity to acquire a work of art which we bought first and foremost for the benefit of the artist; to inscribe their notoriety in modern Chinese cultural history and to quench our passionate desire as collectors and believers.”

The print and lithograph collection includes works by Chen Wenbo, Cui Xiuwen, Fang Lijun, Feng Mengbo, Feng Zhengjie, Han Lei, He An, Hong Hao, Huang Yan, Huang Yongping, Ling Jian, Liu Wei, Liu Xiaodong, Paul McCarthy, Peng Wei, Qiu Zhijie, Rawanchaikul Navin, Rong Rong, Shen Yuan, Sui Jianguo, Wang Guangyi, Wang Ningde, Wang Quingsong, Weng Fen, Yang Fudong, Yang Jiechang, Yang Shaobin, Yang Yong, Yu Youhan, Yue Minjin, Zheng Hao and Zhang Xiaogang. Feng Feng.

Han Lie, Shan Shui Series-5, photography                      Han Lie Shan Shui Series-5, Photography

 

ArtAndOnly (http://www,ArtAndOnly.com) is a new sales platform specializing in contemporary art across many disciplines including; painting, sculpture, drawing, video, printmaking, photography and mixed media. By connecting collectors, artists and a network of professional dealers, ArtAndOnly expands the passion and expertise of an exclusive art gallery into the global online art market. With a focus on quality and a carefully curated selection of unique work by both established and emerging talent, ArtAndOnly aims to be a collector’s comprehensive and trusted partner.

 

Leading Chinese porcelain producer to locate its European base and museum in Scottish Borders

 Greenlaw imposing facadeThe facade of A Listed Greenlaw Town Hall     Picture courtesy Scottish Heritage Buildings Trust 

One of the most important porcelain manufacturers in China, the Shanghai-based Hanguan Company, is to locate the base for its European operations in the Scottish Border region in the town of Greenlaw, in an iconic Grade A Listed Building.

Amongst its many activities the company, which is run my Master Ceramicist and Professor of Ceramics at Shanghai’s Fudan University, Li Youyu, produces some of the finest ceramics in the whole of China, which is borne out by the fact that it is used by the government of China to create the official gifts given out to foreign dignitaries. Many world leaders, including those of the UK and USA, have received wares crafted by Hanguan.

Greenlaw pub1 lr In the entrance hall of the building the bust of Sir Archibald Campbell, the original patron, looks down this week on the new investors. Left to right: Ms Huang Ping, Professor Master Li Youyu and Sulee Harris, Photo Paul Harris

At 11 am on Wednesday May 31, Scottish Borders company Coldingham Investments Ltd (controlled by Coldingham man Paul Harris and his Chinese wife, Sulee) bought the massive Grade A listed building Greenlaw Town Hall from The Scottish Heritage Buildings Trust. SHBT finished a £1.95m. restoration of the building in 2011, at which time it was re-opened by HRH Prince Charles.

The Coldingham-based company will continue to own the building and, although equity is being bought by the Chinese, the present ownership will retain a ‘significant’ shareholding in the new operation. The Coldingham duo Paul and Sulee recently launched Coldingham Borders Auctions, operate half a dozen websites selling Far Eastern art internationally, and have The Coldingham Gallery in the High Street and which was founded more than six years ago.

Greenlaw pub 3 lr Professor Master Li Youyu in the the Great Hall of the building this week. Photo Paul Harris

Paul Harris told the news website chineseart.co.uk , part of the Coldingham group of businesses, last night that he and his wife used to live and work in Shanghai. ‘We have a large network of contacts in China and we are delighted to be able to bring an important Chinese company to the Scottish Borders. We shared images of Greenlaw Town Hall when it came available for sale with Mr Li Youyu, principal figure in the Hanguang Company. He is primarily an artist with vision – not just a businessman – and, even from faraway in China, he was immediately struck by the amazing beauty of the building that is Greenlaw Town Hall.

‘The building won’t just be a collection of offices but the vast public hall will house an exhibition and museum area telling the story of Chinese porcelain – a product which was entirely the invention of the Chinese. The building will be open to the public and Mr Youyu aims to promote direct personal relations between Chinese and Scottish ceramicists through practical sessions, conferences and social events. There will be practical displays showing the creation of porcelain.’

Greenlaw Town Hall, built in 1831 as The County Hall of Berwickshire by local architect John Cunningham, is one of Scotland’s outstanding Greek Revival neo-classical buildings and its vast dome and pillared portico dominate the junction of two main roads through the Scottish Borders at Greenlaw. The building consists of a vast hall and two pavilions (wings) containing offices. In recent years The Scottish Heritage Buildings Trust has spent just under £2m. renovating what was then the derelict building in a high profile restoration.  Until now, though, a sympathetic new owner has not been found.

Greenlaw main hall The Great Hall in Greenlaw. Photo courtesy Scottish Heritage Buildings Trust

‘We are hopeful that the proposed use of Greenlaw Town Hall will help to build the local economy and bring tourists to the area, including many Chinese. The development may also encourage other Chinese businesses we are in touch with to come to the Scottish Borders,’ said Sulee Harris last night. Sulee, using her Chinese name Sun Yumei, is today listed at Companies House as a director of Coldingham Investments Ltd along with Ms Huang Ping who, it is understood, represents the interests of the Hanguang Company.

It is understood that Coldingham Investments Ltd is in active discussions with architectural advisers. A spokesman for the company said there will be an impact on local employment ‘but it is a little early to be specific’.

Greenlaw portico by night The iconic portico of Gfreenlaw Town Hall. Photo courtesy Scottish Heritage Buildings Trust

 

Qianlong scores at Woolley & Wallis

017 The Qianlong mixed media diorama whch scored at Woolley & Wallis this week

Items from the Qianlong period continue to lead at the salerooms symbolising the apogee of taste. Two Qianlong lots were amongst the highest achievers this week at Salisbury auctioneers Woolley & Wallis. We particularly liked the Imperial diorama, Lot 17, which was a mixed media lot incorporating paper, glass and stained ivory (no demonstrators outside the saleroom this time!). It beautifully depicted figures in a river landscape with two ladies peeping through the door of a pavilion. The foreground with a small group of figures on two sampans and a trio of musicians by a pavilion under the shade of weeping willows serenading two scholars beside a tall rock. The frame was glazed with a sheet of glass painted on the inside with clouds and a skein of geese, 58cm x 45.8cm. From an English private collection in Surrey, it got £36,000 on the hammer.

The highest scoring lot in the sale was a Chinese pale celadon jade rectangular-section vase standing 15cm. high. Also Qianlong, it was carved in relief with a band of studs bordered by key fret, with a ferocious scaly five-clawed dragon climbing to one side, its sinuous tail extending around the vase, raised on a reticulated scrolling hardwood stand, It was in many ways similar to one illustrated in Compendium of Collections in the Palace Museum, Jade 10, Qing Dynasty, p.76, no.47.

Sold for £58,000, it was purchased by a Hong Kong Collector.

003