, , ,

4 5 6

A pair of Imperial lemon-yellow glazed bowls, Yongzheng marks and period. Estimate 40,00060,000 GBP. Photo Sotheby’s

each delicately potted with rounded sides supported on a straight foot, the exterior covered with a bright lemon-yellow glaze stopping neatly at the foot, the interior and base glazed white, inscribed at the base with a six-character reign mark within a double-circle. Quantité: 2 – 9.9cm., 3 7/8 in.

PROVENANCE: Collection of W. F. van Heukelom (1958-1937), and thence by descent.
A Dutch Private Collection.


W. F. van Heukelom

Notes: Deceptively simple in form and colour, lemon-yellow glazed vessels represent one of the most technically challenging porcelains to be produced. Monochrome wares of this type required absolute precision in potting, glazing and firing, as the smallest imperfection resulted in the destruction of the piece. Amongst all the different monochrome glazes, yellow is the only colour that has direct Imperial association. Although imperial yellow-glazed wares had been produced from the early Ming dynasty they were used exclusively for ritual ceremonies; thus lemon-yellow vessels provided the court with an alternative for daily use. The yellow glaze was derived from an antimoniate oxide and the lemon-yellow glaze was a Yongzheng innovation achieved when the antimoniate of iron was combined with tin oxide resulting in an opaque yellow glaze of brilliant hue.

A closely related pair of lemon-yellow glazed bowls, from the collection of Mr and Mrs Eli Lilly, was sold in our New York rooms, 3rd June 1993, lot 334; another, included in the Chang Foundation exhibition Chinese Art from the Ching Wan Society Collections II, Taipei, 1998, cat. no. 44, was sold in these rooms, 4th November 1997, lot 1375; a single bowl was sold in these rooms, 5th November 1997, lot 1375; and another was sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 27th November 2009, lot 1715. Compare also a slightly smaller pair of bowls in the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, Stockholm, illustrated in Jan Wirgin, Chinese Ceramics from the Axel and Nora Lundgren Bequest, Stockholm, 1978, pl. 58b, no. 78; and another pair from the collection of Edward T. Chow, sold in these rooms, 25th November 1980, lot 101.

W. F. van Heukelom made his fortune in trade with the then Dutch East Indies. He built an extensive collection of Chinese porcelain, considered the most valuable in the Netherlands at the time. The collection was housed in his mansion on the Museumplein, Amsterdam, designed by the architect Johan Adam Pool (1872-1948). A number of his ceramics were included in the exhibition Tentoonstelling Aziatische Kunst, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 1936. Following his death in 1937, his executors appointed Sotheby’s to handle his collection and a single-owner auction entitled Catalogue of the Well-Known Collection of Fine Chinese Porcelain of the Highest Quality was held at Sotheby’s London, 16th/17th June 1937. This auction included the famous famille verte ‘Star Gods’ dish, purchased by Yamanaka and now in the Percival David Collection at the British Museum, illustrated in Stacey Pierson, Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art: A Guide to the Collection, University of London, London, 2002, front cover and pl. 87. The present lot was one of a small number of pieces not included in the Sotheby’s auction, and was kept by his descendants where it has remained until the present day.

Sotheby’s. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Londres | 05 nov. 2014, 10:00 AM