Back in January, I was delighted to come across my friend and old Sotheby's colleague Sara Covelli and her new business Covelli Tennant. This week another one of my old friends and erstwhile colleagues at Sotheby's, James Bridges of Martel Maides in Guernsey, hit the news.
Undertaking a house contents valuation for a Channel Islands family, James found three Chinese famille rose porcelain bowls; a pair of the bowl above, and the single one below. Their six-character marks identified them as being from the Yongzheng period (1723-35) and these marks did indeed represent the period these bowls were made in.
This gourd and bat pattern (above) is extremely rare, and represents a long, rich and happy life. A single bowl bearing the design sold at Christie's in 2006 for over $700,000. Understandably, James and Martel Maides had high hopes for this pair! Catalogued by consultant expert Julian Thompson, and with an estimate 'On Request', they sold at a stunning £1.02 million.
The single bowl (above), depicting Shou Lao, the god of immortality, riding a stag and accompanied by an Immortal, is not quite as rare, with the pattern sometimes being found on later Kangxi wares. It also bore a crack. As such, the estimate was pitched at a cautious £10,000-15,000. Showing the strength of today's Chinese demand for early and desirable 'mark and period' porcelain, the bowl fetched £280,000 on the day. Both went to the same Far Eastern buyer, and most probably went 'home'.
Well done James - from spotting these rare Asian treasures to marketing and selling them for a record £1.3 million!
To read more about the bowls, click here.