Scotland/China news

More exciting Asian art at Bonhams

On 16 November 2015, an SCA group attended a Private View ahead of the Asian Art auction at Bonhams in Edinburgh that took place two days later. This follows our previous visits in 2012 (see this article) and 2013 (see this one). Here Peter Lindow, Edinburgh Branch Chairman, describes the event.

Some 26 members and guests joined Bonhams in their Queen Street salerooms for a most enjoyable evening, with a lecture and viewing of mostly Chinese objects, with some Japanese and other Asian antiques and paintings. We were welcomed with suitable refreshment by Ian Glennie, Head of the Asian Art Department, before going upstairs to the main salon.

Just three of the many lots on show - left to right - a famille rose dish bearing the arms of William Pitt the Elder (described here) ; a huanghuali side cabinet on stand (described here) ;
and a pair of large mirrored famille rose vases (described here)

Here we found displayed a superb array of furniture and large pots, with fine fabrics strewn on low banquettes and the walls hung with early paintings and drawings, some framed, some as scrolls. In the adjoining room, Asha Edwards of the Asian Art Department and her staff explained the extensive display of jades, carvings, and smaller pottery and valuable items in glass cabinets. In all, there was a wonderful collection of over 450 lots.

The reception continued in the Board Room with a lecture by Bernadette Rankine, from the Bonhams saleroom in Singapore, showing slides of many of the paintings that derived from both China and neighbouring East Asian countries. She briefly explained the differing religions and cultures that informed the art and showed several examples. We were unfamiliar with many of the names, but were encouraged to explore our attics for overlooked paintings, perhaps brought home from the East by elderly relatives - much of this art is highly sought after and commands rather impressive prices.

We then had the opportunity to reveal any treasures we had brought with us, and Asha gave her expert opinion - shades of “Antiques Roadshow”. To my astonishment, she confirmed that my tea-brick was very collectable and one example last year sold for £1,200 !

The hospitality was generous and the evening continued with further inspections, perusing and discussion aided by canapes and refills of our glasses. Thank you once again, Bonhams !

The results of the sale on 18 November can be found here. Details of events at their Singapore showroom can also be found here. In addition, the October 2015 issue of our magazine, 'Sine', contains a fascinating article by Ian Glennie on Scots and the Chinese export porcelain trade.