While antique enthusiasts in Lancashire can buy Victorian dining chairs and other fine furniture at reasonable prices, they have to dig deep if they have a yen for oriental artworks. In December, a Chinese water pot of the Kangxi dynasty was sold for a spectacular £270,000 at a Tyneside auction room. Snapped up by a Chinese bidder who flew in specially, its estimated value was £60,000 – £80,000.
From Preston to Cumbria, antique desks are now being rattled as owners feverishly search for oriental ceramics of their own, because items which were modestly priced a few years ago are now worth an Emperor’s ransom to Chinese collectors, who will go to any lengths to see their Imperial treasures returned to their land of origin. From China’s point-of-view, 19th century Imperial-style furniture produced for the export market is pretty much valueless – meaning even the most exquisite dragon carved antique desks in Lancashire can still be purchased without the need for a second mortgage.
The Tyneside ceramic was auctioned by Anderson & Garland, of Westerhope, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne, on December 10th. An amazing stroke of luck for the North East auction trade, as it was originally due to be sold in London. Celadon glazed and exquisitely carved with a “flying clouds” design, even on its hardwood stand the pot was still only 3” high. As is often the case, it was originally the property of a British colonial resident – in this case Commander Francis Warrington-Strong, who was the Hong Kong Harbour Master from 1957-1959.
Antique dealers in Preston say there are many more Chinese treasures waiting to be found in Cumbria and Lancashire. Antique desks are often stuffed with valuables worth more than the desks themselves.
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