Published 18th October 2013
Reflecting the ever increasing interest shown by Chinese buyers, the Silver section of Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood's Autumn 2013 Fine Art Sale includes several Chinese silver tea services.
Tea has been exported from China to Europe over the past two hundred and fifty years and the tea services reflect Chinese decoration for the Western market. Mostly decorated with dragons either in the form of handles or embossed into the body of the teapot. Bamboo, cranes and pagodas are also used in decoration. Most of the tea services on offer date from the late 19th and early 20th century and were produced in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Estimates vary from £400 to £1,500.
In contrast to the Chinese tea services is a wonderful Victorian four-piece tea service (FS20/124) by Martin Hall & Co, decorated with cherub masks, ribbon swags and flowerheads, being typical of its period, the estimate is £1,500-£2,000.
Included in the Works of Art auction of the fine sale is a broad cross-section of oriental export wares including ivory brise fans, carved jade items, carved ivory tusk vases, shibayama wares and okimonos.
One of the most stunning pieces is a Chinese carved ivory wrist rest (FS20/879), decorated with birds perched in a flowering shrub to one side and painted with a mountainous landscape to the other side.
When it comes to inlaid decoration not much can beat the ivory and shibayama ivory vase and cover (FS20/852) with an estimate of £1,500–£2,000.
A carved jade box (FS20/815) also shows the quality of the jade carver's skill. The box, which has pierced trellis decoration covered with foliage and held together with a loop, is only 11cm high, the estimate is £1,000–£1,500.