Love thy neighbour: dealer bequest of ‘Kangxi’ vase to woman next-door brings windfall at Dawson’s

This large Chinese porcelain vase sold at £37,000 at Dawson's,

A large Chinese porcelain vase inherited by a Chiswick woman from her next-door neighbour, an Asian art dealer, has made £37,000 hammer, more than ten times its lower estimate.

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Noelle McElhatton

The bequest from the Chiswick-based, Chinese native dealer, who was without family and passed away two years ago, to his friend and neighbour, also included several 20th century Chinese scrolls which made a total of £5000 hammer at Dawson’s Auctioneers’ November 23 sale in Maidenhead.

Jade and porcelain from the same source will sell at Dawson’s in a future sale.

The lady consignor will now use part of the proceeds to travel to China to scatter the dealer’s ashes, as he requested, “probably flying there first class, given this result,” quipped auctioneer Aubrey Dawson from the rostrum.

The hammer for the vase is the highest achieved for a Chinese piece at Dawson’s, founded in 2016 by Dawson and his business partner, Ben Haynes.

Age speculation

The vase was catalogued by Dawson’s Auctioneers as ‘Kangxi (1661-1722)’, although the unusual combination of different sophisticated techniques including famille rose enamelling to the reticulated roundel, prompted some to suggest it was made later in the mid-to-later 18th century Qing period.

“It’s an unusual vase and there was a lot of speculation as to its age,” auctioneer Aubrey Dawson said. “Some, including Asian Art dealers, thought Kangxi, and others thought a little later, though I would say no later than 1750.”

The vase is 64cm high and in three sections, with a central bulbous body on a base. It has pierced enamelled floral decorations, on a powder blue ground with gilt scrolls, and an empty impressed mark on the vase’s underside.

Condition issues

The piece has, however, a few condition issues.

There is a crack to the top section along with a chip, a crack to one of the handles, gilt loss to the central section, some cracking on the pierced decoration and loss of enamel.

These cracks and losses led Dawson to keep the estimate low at £3000-5000.

However, the damage didn’t stop bidders on six telephone lines vying for the piece, with a telephone bidder from China making the winning bid.

Jade collection

In the same sale, a single-owner collection of jade, consigned from a house in Surrey, comprised six lots and made a total hammer of £50,000.

One item, a Chinese celadon jade prayer wheel, with carved decoration of peaches (representing immortality) and bats (happiness) to each side, 5.5cm in diameter, made £9800 before premium.

A pair Chinese of porcelain doucai dragon bowls, dating from the late 19th/early 20th century, sold at Dawson’s at £16,500.

From the same collection came a pair Chinese of porcelain doucai dragon bowls, dating from the late 19th/early 20th century, with four-character apocryphal Zhengde marks to base.

At 13.2cm in diameter, in a fitted travelling box, the pair made £16,500 hammer.