The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Thursday, December 2, 2021

Bonhams Australia launches first live auction behind closed doors
A Chinese Export silver tankard and cup by Wang Hing, late 19th century. Photo: Bonhams.

SYDNEY.- Bonhams Australia will hold its first live auction behind closed doors on Wednesday 13 May at 6 pm. The tightly curated, 73-lot sale features Asian Art with a focus on jade, Chinese Silver and ceramics, and highlights from the Grice Collection.

Bidding is available via the Bonhams platform at where the auction will be streamed live in both video and audio. Bonhams also offers telephone bidding with a special service for Mandarin-speaking bidders. Bidding will also be available through the Invaluable platform.

The Grice Collection includes an excellent selection of 30 pieces of jade carvings and export Chinese silverware, which is enjoying a surge in market appreciation. Its appeal has also been underlined by prominent private sales, such as the recent purchase by the Palace of Versailles of a 17th-century Chinese silver ewer - the only known surviving piece of silverware from a lavish diplomatic gift presented to Louis XIV by the King of Siam in 1686.

Highlights of the Grice Collection include a handsome Chinese Export Silver Tankard marked Wang Hung and a tea service lavishly decorated with plum blossoms, both probably made for the European markets.

The Director of Bonhams Australia, Merryn Schriever, said, “We’re very glad to be back in business with this excellent first live closed sale. Although we won’t be able to accommodate bidders in the saleroom itself, we have made it easy for people to bid online and on the phone – as many of our clients have, of course, done in the past.”

The auction is now live online and viewings are available strictly by appointment at the Bonhams Woollahra offices. In line with the new Government guidelines, appointments are limited to two clients with a 30-minute limit. Gloves, supplied by Bonhams upon arrival, must be worn.


Lot 34: A Chinese export silver tankard and cup by Wang Hing, late 19th century (estimate Au $1,200-1,800)

The Grice Collection includes many intricate pieces of Qing dynasty export silver. Manufactured by the firm Wang Hing and Company in Hong Kong during the late Qing dynasty, this tankard is decorated in repousse with a busy urban scenery of messengers on horses, street vendors with carrying yoke, and travellers amongst pavilions and pine trees, its handle of a cast dragon. Such decoration can also be found on ivory carving and ceramics during the same period. The tankard is stamped with an additional Chinese mark, reading sheng-ch'ang, which is often used to identify the maker within the company. The export Chinese silver wares were extremely popular with the expatriates and diplomats in the treaty ports, often used as commemorations for special events and noted figures.

Lot 67: A polychrome enamelled porcelain ‘figures’ plague (estimate Au $2,000-3,000)
This ceramic plaque was painted by one of the leading artists during the Republic period, Liu Xiren (1906-1967). Note that despite the very stylised gowns, the figures' faces are drawn with almost photo-like realism. This was a newly developed painting technique during the period in response to the development of photography. Increasingly incorporating contemporary painting styles in the decoration of these ceramic plaques, artisans during the Republic period enjoyed an unravelled celebrity status their previous generations could never imagine.

This plaque was collected by Dr TF Yeung, a Hong Kong-based ENT doctor during the 1970s and 1980s, whose collection generated overwhelming popularity with Bonhams Sydney last November.

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