A Painted Enamel 'European Subject' Vase ,Qianlong Seal Mark and Period - Photo Sotheby's

the shield-shaped body rising from a stepped foot to a waisted neck and lipped rim, flanked by a pair of ruyi scroll handles, painted with two cartouches enclosing European figures in a hunting scene, divided by meandering floral scrolls repeated at the neck, the angled shoulders with a band of squirrels clambering amidst grape vines, all reserved on a café-au-lait ground, the rim and foot encircled by foliate bands, inscribed with a six-character Qianlong seal mark to the base; 22cm., 8 5/8 in. Estimation: 40,000 - 60,000 GBP

PROVENANCE: Collection of James E. Sowell.

NOTE DE CATALOGUE: The present vase belongs to a select group of wares, all decorated with European subject matters and produced by skilled Guangzhou artists who produced tribute items for the Qing Court. The exceptional quality of the painting seen on wares in this group suggest that the Guangzhou artists were trained by Jesuit missionaries who introduced the technique of enamelling on metal to China. The painting style and colour palette seen here is comparable to that found on a covered cup with its matching saucer, painted in a soft pastel famille-rose palette on a copper ground with three allegorical vignettes, each enclosed within a cartouche of formalized floral design and the panels reserved on a ground of dense mille-fleur motif, offered in our Hong Kong rooms, 11th April 2008, lot 2843.

A vase of related form and composition, but painted on a powder-blue ground, in the British Museum, London, is illustrated in Soame Jenyns and William Watson, Chinese Art II, New York, 1980, pl. 113; and its pair, from the collection of Elizabeth Halsey Dock, included in exhibition on Chinese Export Porcelain and Enamels, Wilmington Society of the Fine Arts, Delaware, 1957, cat. no. 283, was sold in our New York rooms, 1st June 1993, lot 97, and again at Christie’s Hong Kong, 3rd December 2008, lot 2520. Another vase of the same form and similar decoration on a white ground, from the Royal Collections at Buckingham Palace, was included in the International Exhibition of Chinese Art, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1935, cat. no. 2322. Compare also a baluster form Qianlong enamelled vase, the decoration painted on a pale-yellow ground, sold twice at Christie’s Hong Kong, 30th September 1992, lot 894, and again, 23rd March 1993, lot 566.

Sotheby's. Treasures of the Qing Court, A Personal Perspective. London | 07 nov. 2012, www.sothebys.com