In the annals of the great collectors of Chinese objets we all probably recognise names like Arthur Sackler, Joseph Hutong and Lord Cunliffe, but ‘Charles George’. Who he?
The question arises out of Mallams Chinese Art sale on April 27. Many lots bear the legend ‘From the Collection of Charles George 1879-1966′. Of course, he lived in an age long before Google was gathering info on every aspect of our daily lives. These days, once your name appears in the local paper you become, thanks to Google, an international personality (alongside tens of millions of others). These days, it is very difficult to slip under the net, so to speak.
Mallams have issued a press release which reveals a little about him, mainly anecdotal. Apparently, he collected a wide range of antiques but with an especial eye for for Chinese porcelain and furniture, examples of which, from his collection, appear in Mallams’ sale. He is described as being ‘knowledgeable’ and, it is understood, lived in London. And that’s about it . . . except for the fact that he meticulously documented all his purchases in a handwritten directory.
In 1952, he recorded that a vase he had acquired, which had been included in the 1947 Oriental Ceramic Society exhibition of celadon wares curated by founder member and expert Arthur L Hetherington, was, in George’s estimation, was worth £12-15. That same vase is now up for sale in Mallams’ sale next week in Cheltenham. It is today estimated at £20,000-30,000 and is expected by many observers to exceed that price range..
It is a celadon glazed Yongzheng (1722-35) mark and period vase (23.5cm. in height), which is illustrated below. The auctioneers describe it as ‘moulded to the base with bands of chrysanthemum petals and to the neck with ribs in imitation of bamboo, inspired by a Longquan prototype from the Southern Song period. The foot bears a six-character Yongzheng mark painted in blue in zhuanshu script under the watery celadon glaze, with a textured bluish tone that is characteristic of the period. It retains the Oriental Ceramic Society label and the exhibit No 130 to its base (illustrated above).
Clearly a collector of some taste. Can anyone amongst our readers come up with any more information about the mysterious Mr George?