Thursday 16th July 2020 - Della Bentham
A rare Chinese Vase discovered in a country house in Europe sold at auction for £7 Million with Sotheby's!
When Amsterdam based art consultant Johan Bosch van Rosenthal was called out to assess an elderly lady’s art collection he had no idea he was about to find something so special and rare.
While appraising her collection he recalls the moment they entered the room with the rare and special vase.
"We reached a room with a number of Chinese works of art inherited many years ago. Her four cats walked around freely among these. She pointed out a ... partly gilded Chinese vase on a cupboard — a cherished object which she knew to be something special and valuable."
While not being an expert in Chinese works of art, he recognised that this piece was ‘no ordinary Chinese vase’ and decided to send some photographs to the chairman of Sotheby’s Asia, Nicholas Chow. Mr Chow decided to go and visit the lady himself to look at the vase in person.
He instantly knew that this was an incredibly valuable piece with records suggesting the vase was specifically made for the Qianlong Emperor in the Palace of Celestial Purity in Beijing’s forbidden city.
Sotheby’s described the vase as a ‘lost masterpiece of Chinese Porcelain’ which reflected ‘the culmination of centuries of ingenuity in Chinese crafts.’ So, just how had this important artifact managed to come into the ownership of this lady?
The owner had inherited the piece and had been with her for the last fifty years. Prior to the vase coming into her possession, it had belonged to Sir Harry M. Garner and Henry M. Knight who were two important collectors of Chinese art.
Sotheby’s were able to trace back the vase’s history, finding it was first sold through the company for $56 (around $1,500 in today’s currency) back in 1954. It was sold again later that year for just over $100 and was passed down through a family until last week’s whopping sale.
The 80-year-old owner of the vase prior to the auction lived in a remote country house with numerous pets, leading Nicholas Chow to say “It is a miracle that this extraordinarily fragile vase survived half a century in a home surrounded by countless pets,”
The vase was an unusual design with beautiful turquoise, purple and gold colours with lattice and floral details.