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3 March 2021

'Exceptional' 15th-Century Ming Dynasty bowl unearthed at US yard sale

As far as antiques hunting goes, this might just be as good as it gets. A small bowl bought for just $35 (£25) at a market sale in the US state of Connecticut has turned out to be a rare 15th-Century Chinese artefact.

The white porcelain bowl was spotted by an unidentified antiques enthusiast near New Haven last year, and they quickly sought an expert evaluation. The experts came back with good news, revealing that the bowl is thought to be worth between $300,000 and $500,000. In fact, it is believed to be one of only seven such bowls in existence and most of the others are in museums.

The bowl is set to be auctioned in New York on 17 March by Sotheby's auction house, which describes the find in its listing as "exceptional and rare". "It was immediately apparent to both of us that we were looking at something really very, very special," Angela McAteer, an expert on Chinese ceramics at the auctioneer's told the Associated Press news agency. "The style of painting, the shape of the bowl, even just the colour of the blue is quite characteristic of that early, early 15th-Century period of porcelain," she added.

The 6-inch (16cm) diameter bowl features cobalt blue floral paintings and an intricate design around the rim. "All the characteristics and hallmarks are there that identify it as a product of the early Ming [Dynasty] period," Ms McAteer said.

How exactly the bowl found itself being sold at a Connecticut outdoor sale remains a mystery. Some have suggested it may have been passed down through generations of the same family. "It's always quite astounding to think that it kind of still happens, that these treasures can be discovered," Ms McAteer said. "It's always really exciting for us as specialists when something we didn't even know existed here appears seemingly out of nowhere."

> 'Exceptional' 15th-Century Ming Dynasty bowl unearthed at US yard sale

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1 March 2021

Antiques Roadshow guest in utter disbelief after pot is valued

A guest on Antiques Roadshow was left in disbelief after a pot that had been a work gift was valued at an incredible amount of money. The owner explained the pot had been given by work colleagues to his grandfather, before being passed down through the family.

Expert Eric Knowles quizzed the couple on how much they knew about the striking toadstool pot. The man said: "It's been in our house for about a year, but it's been in the family since about the 1930s. It was given to my grandad. He was a buyer for a big firm in Exeter. "And instead of being given bottles of whisky at Christmas, they gave him ceramics. And this was just one of the many ceramics that he was given at Christmas time."

Eric said: "Well you've brought along a little gem, as far as I am concerned. "There is an undermark underneath there and you know what it is and I know what it is - Moorcroft. "Now what we are looking at is an example that dates back to around 1930 and when you look at a pot like this, you look at the shape. "Now that shape is very modern. The decoration on this is just perfect... it's all about the glaze. "I would probably be expected to pay £1200 to £1500 for it."

The owner was in complete shock over the valuation. He said: "That is a surprise. I thought about £300 ot £400. That is amazing.

> Antiques Roadshow guest in utter disbelief after pot is valued

1 March 2021

Art and antiques sector cheered by easing of lockdown

Plans for shop reopenings, new fair dates and rescheduled auctions are under way as the art and antiques sector welcomed the news of the government ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown in England. Outdoor markets are being planned. Will Thomas at fair organiser IACF said: “It is good news we can operate from April and we have moved our Newark date back a week.”

New dates are April 15 for Newark Antiques & Collectors Market, April 20 for IACF Ardingly and April 26 for Runway Monday at Newark. Ed Cruttenden of event organiser Sunbury Antiques said: “Retail is definitely not dead, just in hibernation. We look forward to welcoming everyone back to our fairs safely very soon. “We are awaiting clarification on whether we can hold events at Kempton, Sandown and Wimbledon from April or May and will confirm our dates as soon as possible.”

Freya Simms, chief executive at dealer association LAPADA, said the government roadmap promotes a “careful and considered approach and avoids businesses having to close their doors once again, so we fully support a plan that is incremental but irreversible”. She added: “Along with the reopening, it is important that the government maintains financial support to provide vital working capital by continuing the current business rates relief to ease the economic impact.”

Among the events that can take place in April is dealer Freya Mitton’s Modern British Art exhibition at the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath. Among the pictures for sale is this John Armstrong (1893- 1973) Still Life with Onions and a Wicker Basket (signed and dated ’57) with a price of £5800. Mitton said: “The gallery can open as commercial space in April. I am cautiously optimistic that it will take place this time with vaccines in place and a more cautious approach by government. “People will be looking for something to visit and the exhibition won’t be too crowded as it is over a two-week period so visits can be spread out over the duration.”

Some events will have to reschedule. The Pet worth Park Antiques & Fine Art Fair was planned for May 7-9. However, as hotels and large events cannot operate until after May 17, it will now be held later. Organiser Ingrid Nilson is discussing options with venue owner the National Trust.

Woolley & Wallis of Salisbury is among those that have announced a revised calendar for the year. Auctions will restart from April 20 with Furniture, Works of Art & Clocks on April 20-21, Silver & Objects of Vertu on April 27-28 and Jewellery on April 29. John Axford, W&W chairman, said: “With a little rejigging in places, we have effectively moved our calendar on by three months and combined some sale dates so that several of our departments will be having large two-day auctions. As in 2020 we will also continue to hold auctions throughout August until we have caught up with the backlog.”

Helen Carless, chairman and managing director at Lawrences of Crewkerne, said the auction house’s 2500-lot three-day Fine Art sale starting on April 20 is already online and will be available for viewing in person while “maintaining the strict social distancing and PPE measures that have been in place throughout the pandemic”.

> Art and antiques sector cheered by easing of lockdown

1 March 2021

Clarice Cliff jug

Tennants’ 20th Century Design sale in Leyburn on March 6 includes this Clarice Cliff lotus jug decorated in the Fantasque Bizarre Trees and House (Alpine) pattern.

Estimate £600-900.

> Clarice Cliff jug

15 October 2020

Dorking Halls Antiques Fair - 18 October 2020

Popular Dorking Halls Antiques Fair has been confirmed for their scheduled fair on Sunday 18 October. Organised by family run Dovehouse Fine Antiques Fairs the first event launched 2012 to an invited group of knowledgeable exhibitors. In November 2013, the company acquired Dorking Halls Antiques & Decorative Arts Fair, a long established, 1 day monthly fair since 1976 and one of Surrey's longest running and highly regarded antiques & decorative arts fairs. Both fairs were incorporated at the Dorking Halls to re-establish the standard & quality of this much-admired event.

Event: Dorking Halls Antiques

Organiser: Dovehouse Fine Antiques Fairs

Venue: Dorking Halls, Reigate Rd, Dorking RH4 1SG

Date: 18 October 2020

> Dorking Halls Antiques Fair

12 October 2020

Tinplate double deck bus

House & Son of Bournemouth will be selling the second tranche of a large local collection of tinplate toys and over 1000 novelty inkwells on October 13.

All items will be sold without reserve, including this Bing tinplate clockwork open top double deck bus, lithographed with the London General Omnibus Company logo and advertisements for Pascall confectionery, Wright's Coal Tar Soap and Dunlop. Estimate £200-400.

> Tinplate double deck bus

25 September 2020

Tiny Teapot found in garage during lockdown clear out sells for £390K

A tiny teapot that spent decades in a garage gathering dust has sold for £390,000 at auction after a man unearthed it during a lockdown clearout.

The Chinese-enamelled wine ewer had been destined for a charity shop after being left in a garage and then an attic for years. But on the off-chance it might be worth something, its 51-year-old owner decided to try his luck and show it to an auction expert. The expert revealed the 15-cm tall pot was in fact a rare imperial antique dating back to the Qianlong period between 1735 and 1799 and could fetch around £100,000 under the hammer.

But when it went on sale on Thursday at Hanson Auctioneers it smashed its original target and reached a huge £390,000. The seller, who watched the auction live at home with his brother and family, said: "I'm thrilled. This will change a few things for us all. It's come at a really good time. "I got a few cans of Guinness in beforehand. We'll be going for a drink tonight and toasting grandad."

The teapot had been in the family since the seller's childhood and, at one stage, was kept in a cabinet in the house before being left in an outbuilding. The family believes it was brought back to England by their grandfather who was stationed in Asia during the Second World War and was awarded a Burma Star. "Mum passed away 17 years ago, then dad nine years ago and the teapot ended up in a loft in Newhall," said the seller. "Later it was boxed up and moved to a relative's garage in Church Gresley. We'd been thinking of sending everything to a charity shop."

Fortunately the family decided to investigate beforehand and speak to the auction house. Auctioneer Charles Hanson said: "It has to be the best lockdown find ever. Ewers and teapots of this type were fashionable at court during the period of Emperor Qianlong. "He was fascinated by European enamel and the new method of enamel painting and the style was replicated in his imperial workshops. "During Emperor Qianlong's reign this art form reached heady heights of perfection, with designs reflecting the emperor's extravagant taste."

> Tiny Teapot found in garage during lockdown clear out sells for £390K

22 August 2020

'Gandhi' spectacles take £260,000 at Bristol auction

Items associated with Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi - later known as Mahatma ('the great soul') Gandhi are highly sought-after collector pieces. Gandhi (1869-1948) was an Indian lawyer, anti-colonial nationalist and political campaigner, who employed non-violent resistance and led the campaign for Indian independence from Britain. After training as a lawyer in London, Gandhi moved to South Africa in 1893 to represent an Indian merchant in a lawsuit. He went on to stay for 21 years. It was in South Africa that Gandhi first employed nonviolent resistance in a campaign for civil rights.

East Bristol Auctions had estimated the spectacles at £10,000-15,000 ahead of the August 21 sale. The glasses had been consigned to the auction house in Hanham, Bristol, by the owner who left them in a white envelope in its letterbox one weekend. The vendor had inherited them from an uncle who was believed to have been given them c.1920-30 by Gandhi while in South Africa.

Andrew Stowe, auctioneer at East Bristol Auctions, said: "It's a phenomenal result! These glasses have been lying in a drawer for the best part of fifty years. The vendor literally told me to throw them away if they were 'no good'. Now he gets a life-changing sum of money. It's the 'good news' story that we all want - as an elderly gentleman, our vendor has probably had a rough time in recent months and to be able to change his life is just incredible."

The uncle of the vendor had been working for British Petroleum at the time and was stationed in South Africa. The family believe they were presented to the uncle by way of thanks from Gandhi for some good deed. The early 20th century, c.1920 gold plated circular rimmed spectacles were catalogued by the auction house as 'by repute owned and worn by Mahatma Gandhi'. The auction house's description states: "The spectacles formed an important and somewhat iconic part of Gandhi's overall appearance. It was known that he would often give away his old or unwanted pairs to those in need or those who had helped him. A rare and important pair of spectacles."

Stowe said ahead of the sale: "We first looked at the story to verify it was possible - and all the pieces of the jigsaw slotted together perfectly. The vendor's uncle was in South Africa at the right time, as was Gandhi. We then looked at the specifics of the glasses, which also matched other known examples in museums etc. "Then we discovered one pair in a museum which has the bridge section distinctly distorted to fit Gandhi's nose, and ours carries the identical distortion - that can only be something specific to Gandhi. Unfortunately, through 100 years and three generations, the story hasn't been preserved as neatly as we'd all like - but the broadstrokes are all there, and the jigsaw fits together." Following the sale Stowe added: "We had interest from all over the world - bids came from India, Qatar, American, Russia, Canada. It's completely spellbinding, and a wonderful thing to be a part of.' "These glasses represent not only an auction record for us, but a find of international historical importance. Gandhi's glasses have surpassed all expectations, and previous house records. It's been a great day!"

A number of items owned by Gandhi have sold at auction over the years. In 2009 a pair of his spectacles, alongside his leather sandals, a Zenith pocket watch and a brass bowl and plate from which he is thought to have taken his last meal, sold for $1.8m (£1.4m) at Antiquorum in New York. In June 2019 a maquette for the famous Gandhi statue in London's Tavistock Square made £52,000.

> 'Gandhi' spectacles take £260,000 at Bristol auction

18 August 2020

The Winter Art & Antiques Fair Olympia - 3-8 November 2020

The 30th edition of the Winter Art & Antiques Fair Olympia 3-8 November 2020, with a Private Preview 2 November, will be one of the first of the UK's important art and antiques fairs allowed to run after government restrictions were lifted from October 1 2020.

The Art & Antiques Fair Olympia, in June 2020, was postponed due to Coronavirus but organisers Clarion Events always hoped that the sister fair in November would be allowed to go ahead.

Organiser: Clarion Events Ltd

Venue: Olympia, National Hall, Hammersmith Road, London, W14 8UX

Date: 3-8 November 2020 (Private Preview 2 November)

Enquiries: Tel: 0207 384 8144

> The Winter Art & Antiques Fair Olympia - 3-8 November 2020

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