Étiquettes

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EDINBURGH.- A blue and white vase from the estate of well known author of romantic novels, the late Lady Mary Stewart, sold for £289,250 at Lyon & Turnbull’s Sale of Fine Asian Works of Art on the 2nd December 2014. The sale made a total of £1,556,468.

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Blue and white Meiping vase, Kangxi mark but later. Estimate £ 800-1,200. Sold for £289,250. Photo Lyon & Turnbull

decorated with two elongated five-clawed dragons amongst flames, six character reign mark to underside – 22.5cm high

Provenance: Selected contents from the estate of the late Lady Mary Stewart

Acquired as a gift from Hugh Moss, 1970s or early 1980s.

Other items from the Lady Mary Stewart Collection included a carved Rhinoceros horn libation cup, which sold for £51,650 and a carved hardwood brush pot sold for £58,850. Lady Mary Stewart is most famous for her Arthurian trilogy: The Crystal Cave (1970), The Hollow Hills (1973) and The Last Enchantment (1979) Passionate about collecting Chinese Works of Art, Lady Stewart put together a remarkable group of items during her lifetime.

Lady Stewart developed a passion for Asian works of art and over her lifetime amassed a remarkable collection. Buying from important dealers such as Hugh Moss and Sydney Moss, Lady Stewart collected items of various kinds that caught her attention, from intricately crafted snuff bottles to Japanese netsuke, and early Ming wares. Two jade carvings, one a Buddhist lion from the Qianlong period (lot 217) the other a Ming/Qing chimera (lot 212), stand out as the highlights of this interesting and varied collection, as well as lot 151 an impressive 19th century carved rhino horn libation cup.

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Celadon jade group, Qianlong period. Estimate £ 20,000-40,000. Sold for £22,500. Photo Lyon & Turnbull

with russet inclusions, carved as a Buddhist lion at play with two cubs, the manes and tails with fine hairwork, on associated hardwood stand – 16.5cm long

Provenance: Selected contents from the estate of the late Lady Mary Stewart
Acquired Sydney L. Moss, 1971, with receipt

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Jade celadon and dark brown chimera, Ming-Qing dynasty. Estimate £ 8,000-12,000. Sold for £8,750. Photo Lyon & Turnbull

carved standing, the head looking slightly upward, with white, russet and dark brown inclusions, with finely carved wood stand – 13cm long

Provenance: Selected contents from the estate of the late Lady Mary Stewart.
Acquired Sydney L. Moss, 1965, with receipt

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Carved Rhinoceros horn libation cup, Qing dynasty, first half of the 19th century. Estimate £ 8,000-12,000. Sold for £51,650. Photo Lyon & Turnbull

carved in high relief with a pair of cranes, one in flight above craggy rocks, one handle fashioned as a trunk with branches of peach issuing from it, flanked by three sparrows, the other handle with branches of pomegranate above a pair of phoenix on rocks facing each other below a moon resting on clouds, further decorated with a sprig of bamboo and a flowering branch of plum blossom, on a slightly raised foot, the inside carved as six petals reminiscent of a flower – 9cm high, 15cm long, 9.2cm wide

Provenance: Selected contents from the estate of the late Lady Mary Stewart. Acquired Janet Lumsden, 1965

Note: Born Mary Florence Elinor Rainbow in Sunderland in the north of England in 1928, Lady Mary Stewart would later enchant generations of readers with her unique brand of romantic and historical suspense novels. The daughter of a country curate, after receiving offers to study at Oxford and Cambridge, Stewart read English at Durham University, and after graduating with a First, she became a lecturer before her passion for writing took over. She married Frederick Stewart, a geology professor who was later knighted for his contributions to the field, after a three month romance, and they were married for almost 60 years before his death in 2001. Famous for her Merlin Trilogy, she was also responsible for memorable novels such as Nine Coaches Waiting, My Brother Michael and The Moonspinners, just a sample of the many works she produced during a prolific career.

Not one to court fame or accolade, Lady Stewart’s independent and capable heroines were a refreshing change for the genre and were often believed to be reflections of her own personality. Indeed, the novels are peppered with references to flowers bringing to mind her beloved garden on the shores of Loch Awe in the Scottish Highlands. So personal were her novels that she even asked her publisher not to release her first book; « It felt like walking naked down the street, » she said, « so much of oneself goes into a book. »

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Carved hardwood brush potQing dynasty, 18th-19th century. Estimate £ 1,200-1,500. Sold for £58,850. Photo Lyon & Turnbull

decorated with two figures in a mountainous landscape with caves and pavilions amongst pine and banana trees, bamboo and willows, with brass liner – 15cm high

Provenance: Selected contents from the estate of the late Lady Mary Stewart
Acquired Edinburgh Antique Fair, 1966

An impressive and exceptionally rare celadon and blue glazed dragon charger sold for £241,250, it came from a private Scottish collection, in Dumfrieshire, Scotland. The client’s uncle was a prisoner-of-war in Japan during the second war and following his release he stayed in Japan working his way to become a successful businessman. He collected this and many other Chinese and Japanese works of art on his travels throughout Asia. Bringing them back to England in the 1950’s when he set up home in Yorkshire and later Scotland.

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Exceptionally rare celadon and blue glazed dragon charger, Yongzheng mark and of the periodEstimate £ 20,000-30,000. Sold for £241,250. Photo Lyon & Turnbull

of wide basin form with a flat rim, the central circular medallion in shades of blue, carved with an archaic style three-clawed chilong dragon suspended in flight amongst swirls of cloud, his face with a determined expression and heavy brow, a single horn curling above his mane, his tail terminating in scrolls, the exterior carved with upright lotus petal lappets, the raised foot with brown wash and the base with six character seal mark -49.8cm diam

Note: Sotheby’s New York sold an identical charger on 23rd March 2004, lot 648. Apart from the dish mentioned above, no other chargers of this type appear to be recorded. The design is known in chargers of plain monochrome celadon, one example of which is in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. The rarity of this combination of colours in the Yongzheng era and the minor firing flaws suggest that these chargers were part of an experimental group. The Yongzheng emperor was known to challenge his potters to produce increasingly advanced designs with exceptional glazes.

Provenance: Private collection, Scotland.
Aqcuired by the late uncle of the present owner, who was a prisoner-of-war in Japan during the Second World War. Following his release he stayed in Japan working his way to become a successful businessman. He collected this and many other Chinese and Japanese works of art during his travels throughout Asia, bringing them back to England in the 1950’s when he set up home in Yorkshire and later Scotland.
Another charger from this collection was sold at Lyon & Turnbull on 4th June 2014, lot 368.

Lee Young, Asian International Director and Asian Specialist at Lyon & Turnbull said “This was a terrific result and moving the sale from Edinburgh closer to London has paid off. The blue and white vase was one of a number of items found in Scotland by our experts, which all sold really well. The saleroom was busy and we had many telephone bidders from Europe, the USA and Asia, the sale made a total of over £1.56 million.”

Among the other items found in Scotland in the sale was a pair of yellow dragon bowls belonging to an Empress, from the collection of a Glasgow shipping magnate, which sold for £31,250. The bowls come from the collection of Leonard Gow, the noted Glaswegian shipping magnate whose collection of Chinese porcelain was one of the most important in Britain in the first part of the 20th century.

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Pair of yellow and green ‘Dragon’ bowls, Yongzheng six character mark and of the period. Estimate £ 4,000-6,000. Sold for £31,250. Photo Lyon & Turnbull

the bowls decorated in the centre with a medallion of a dragon chasing the flaming pearl, the exterior with four further medallions and clouds (2) – 14.5cm diam  

Provenance: Select Items from the Leonard Gow Collection

Note: Born in Glasgow, the son of a shipping magnate, Leonard Gow attended Glasgow University in 1884 to spend a year studying Moral Philosophy. He became senior partner in the shipping company Gow, Harrison & Co, director of the Burmah Oil Company and chairman of several other companies. A noted philanthropist, he founded the Leonard Gow Lectureship on Medical Diseases of Infancy and Childhood in 1919. He was given an Honorary Degree in 1934. Gow was one of the city’s greatest art collectors, specialising in pictures, etchings and Chinese porcelain. Indeed, the Leonard Gow collection of Chinese porcelain held at one point the finest collection of Kangxi porcelain in the country.

R. L. Hobson, keeper of the Department of Oriental Antiquities and Ethnography of the British Museum, wrote of the Gow collection in the Burlington Magazine, 1924: ‘It is unfortunate for the devotees of Chinese porcelain in London that this collection is so distant. One has to go beyond Glasgow to see it, but it is safe to say that one would have to travel much further to see a private collection which is better in its own particular line.’

Sourced from a private Scottish collection, a pair of Doucai ‘Butterlies and Flowers’ medallion bowls sold for £91,250, the bowls are finely painted with four circular medallions with the flowers of the four seasons; lotus, peony, chrysanthemum and plum blossom, framed by stylised scrollwork. Also a rare blue and white ‘Li Shizi’ Wine Cup sold for £28,750.

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Pair of doucai ‘Butterflies and FLowers’ medallion bowls, Yongzheng mark and of the period. Estimate £ 20,000-30,000. Sold for £91,250. Photo Lyon & Turnbull

of flared, conical form on a raised foot, finely painted with four circular medallions with the flowers of the four seasons; lotus, peony, chrysanthemum and plumblossom, framed by stylised scrollwork, all within double blue lines, the interior with central medallion with two butterflies, within double blue lines, the base with six character reign mark (2) – 22.4cm diameter

Provenance: Private Scottish Collection. Purchased at auction in the 1970’s.