Subject:Re: qianlong mark and period vase
Posted By: Corey Fri, Apr 07, 2017
Yes, it's a very beautiful vase, seemingly authentic, and if so; also highly valuable. I wanted to post the relevant links, but was waiting for others to reply first, and then strange thing with Kaminski messed up things further. But the vase luckily bears a sticker that read FONTHILL HERILOOM and a number (looks like 37), making it easy to trace the provenance, which in this case is rather impressive. From a description in a listing at Bonham's:
"The Fonthill Heirlooms remains one of the most facinating groups of Imperial Qing porcelain and works of art formed by a European in the 19th Century. It was originally collected by Alfred Morrison, the London-based Member of Parliament, who was an active purchaser during the last decades of the 19th Century, when Chinese and Japanese art were both culturally very much at the forefront of aesthetic tastes as pioneered by artistic taste-formers like James Whistler and Oscar Wilde, and also available in rather larger quantities than previously. The Fonthill Heirlooms became particularly well-known because Alfred Morrison was apparently able to buy a substantial quantity of Chinese art from Lord Loch of Drylaw. Before ennoblement, Lord Loch had been an aide-de-camp of Lord Elgin, British Minister Plenipotentiary in charge of the Western military campaign in China which culminated in the sacking of the Summer Palace in 1860. It appears that Mr Morrison bought, still packed in the original campaign chests, the mementoes which Lord Loch had brought back from Beijing. However, it is unclear how much of the Fonthill Heirlooms formed part of this purchase traceable directly back to the sacking, and how much was subsequently acquired by Mr Morrison from London antique dealers emerging into leading taste creators around the new antique dealing areas of Belgravia, Mayfair and Bond Street"
But the most notable recent sale from that collection was of course THE FONTHILL DRAGON JAR, that sat a new world record for Qing dynasty monochromes at Sotheby's in 2014:
And then there are the similar vases sold through the major houses.
A marked one at Bonham's:
An unmarked one at Sotheby's:
And another unmarked one at Sotheby's, but with the highest pre-sale estimate of those that can be found online:
As can be read in lot notes similar examples are represented in both the imperial collection and in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, two of the worlds foremost museums when it comes to Chinese art. One of the examples in the imperial collection is even a Qianlong marked blue and white version and possibly the counterpart of a pair to the vase shown here, and if the Fonthill provenance can be confirmed, this vase surely is a highly covetted imperial treasure.
I don't know how to compare the red, blue and white vases linked to here, but I could imagine that the Chinese purist would value the classical blue and white version higher, which is also suggested by a sale at Bonham's in 2010, where a Chinese buyer paid £5m for a vase of related form an decoration unidentifyed as a mark and period piece, but listed as republic period and estimated at £10-15:
A year has passed since this thread went dead, but it would be very interesting to hear what actually has happened with the vase since then.