The Dorset Echo newspaper reports that the collection of Chinese art that belonged to John Walden the famous Hong Kong administrator and pro-democracy campaigner will be sold by Dukes of Dorchester this week, on November 14.
Apparently referred to as JCC to friends – and Jesus Christ in China to some others – Walden was a significant political figure in Hong Kong during the second half of the 20th century. He died last year. He began his career in Hong Kong after graduating from Cambridge and served in various roles until he became Director of Home Affairs from 1976 until retirement in 1980. He also worked as a Justice of the Peace. Walden remained in Hong Kong until 2010 when he returned to live in Salisbury, Wiltshire.
His collection contains a number of jade pieces including a yellowish-white jade dragon and phoenix pendant possibly from the Han dynasty and potentially an important discovery. The three inch long piece is estimated to sell for up to £10,000 pounds, but it is thought that it could well exceed that figure. Andrew Marlborough from Duke’s said: “We are delighted to have been asked to handle this sale which it is hoped will serve both to celebrate John Walden’s love of Chinese art and culture and his lifelong dedication to the people of Hong Kong.
A Dukes spokesman said, “He took early retirement in order to become an independent political commentator, activist and author. Walden’s taste conformed to traditional ideas of connoisseurship but his real passion was for jade.”
Walden’s daughter Vanessa Hibbert described her first childhood visit with her father to Dunt and King’s shop in Hong Kong. She said: “I would stand with my curious nose and inquisitive eyes level with the counter top, whilst these two gentlemen turned over pieces of smooth jade in their fingers and murmured at the beauty of the pieces they examined.”
The Asian sale on November 14 includes other Chinese items, as well as Japanese and Indian art and Indo-Javanese bronzes.