Northumberland auctioneer Railtons to sell Chinese treasure trove


A small pretty jar with delicately enamelled decoration of a phoenix is coming up at Railtons on May 14

Northumberland auctioneer Jim Railton ( has just posted more than 50 Chinese lots on for auction on Saturday May 14 ( in his quarterly antiques sale.

It is rather a mixed assemblage but there are a few distinctly interesting lots including an early Ming dish (possibly Yuan); a pretty little jar with Imperial ‘Heaven’ mark to the base; an unusual Hongxi mark dish; several doucai vases, and a striking Mongolian bowl. Auctioneer Jim Railton says they come from a couple of ‘good’ private collections in the Borders, from owners ‘fed up with being messed about by posh London auction houses’. It has been a common complaint of late levelled against certain ‘top’ auction houses that they take ages to reply to potential vendors and then hold on to items for an unconscionable length of time.

‘I think there are some rather worthwhile lots coming up. Let’s see what happens . . . ‘, said Jim yesterday. For those who think that a trip to the wilds of Northumberland is a bridge too far, the sale will be available live on the popular platform Estimates vary widely – from £20 to £8,000. There seems to be adequate room for a few ‘sleepers’ here . . . There is a table screen which is labelled as having come from Carlton House in London, inlaid with semi-precious stones to one side and gilded on the other.

Meantime, we have selected a  few of what we think are amongst the most interesting lots. An early Ming blue and white dish boasts peony flowers to the cavetto, anhua dragons around the rim, and an unglazed base.


Detail of an early Ming dish at Railtons May 14

15a Base of a colourful Hongxi dish at Railtons May 14

10 Blue & iron red bulbous flask with Xuande mark but later at Railtons May 14

11 Blue & iron red bowl also with Xuande mark, but later, at Railtons

12 Mongolian bowl at Railtons