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Robert S. H Smith and Joan Smith.

Robert Stanley Hope Smith, known to friends and family as Stanley, was born on 13th December 1910 in Horton, Bradford. During the 2nd world war he served with his local Home Guard Regiment. He was a solicitor and partner at Browning Oliver and Smith in Bradford and was known to have worked closely with the refugee polish community who settled there in the late 1940s and early 50s, helping them establish a future within the city that still prospered with a textile industry.

He married Joan Shelton, a schoolteacher, on 4th September 1946, bought a small semi-detached house, Colwyn, Park Mount Avenue in Baildon and had one son, John.

According to his diary he began collecting “Famille Rose” and “Famille Verte” pieces in 1946 from local auction houses, shops and privately in Harrogate, Leeds and Bradford. His wife Joan also shared his passion and they made further purchases on weekend trips to country houses and antique fairs.

He made his first Sotheby’s purchase via absentee bid on 2nd October 1950 and on the 15th December the same year was elected a member of the Oriental Ceramic Society. In 1959 Frank Davis, another north of England OCS member, wrote to say that he would surely be welcomed by the “learned lot” in London but it is unlikely Stanley ever made it there because of the disability that made travel difficult.

Over the following decades he was delighted to acquire pieces from collections such as the Lord Cunliffe, the Montague Meyer, the Leonard Gow along with OCS exhibition pieces. What may have not been key pieces for them became the core of his collection.

Stanley and Joan lived an unassuming life, intellectually stimulated by eclectic subscriptions to periodicals. He played the organ at church services in Baildon, watched his son play rugby for his school and county, and on summer afternoons tended his allotment. They loved the Yorkshire Dales, visiting country houses, occasionally staying in hotels in the Lake District. On Sundays they drove a specially adapted Jaguar across the Yorkshire moors.

Members of their family were the few fortunate enough to see the porcelain collection displayed in the back room of Colwyn on a dresser alongside the piano and harpsichord. They assumed that Stanley collected even broken pieces of Chinese pottery because they were all that he could afford, unaware that Kintsugi was key to his passion, for he had suffered from polio as a child and walked with a cane.

Stanley died in November 1979. Joan remained a member of the Oriental Ceramic Society for the rest of her life. In later years her grandchildren remember her reading to them in front of an open fire from auction catalogues, OCB periodicals and Oriental art study books, teaching them about the Chinese dynasties and their dates while referring to the pieces still on display in the back room where they had remained undisturbed for the previous 45 years. She died in 2000 and the collection was subsequently put into storage. The family has decided that the time has come for others to enjoy and admire the collection and hope that it will bring as much pleasure as it did for Stanley and Joan.

A large Fahua jar Late Ming Dynasty

Lot 64. A large Fahua jar, Late Ming Dynasty, 31cm (12.1/4in) high. Estimate £1,500 - 2,000. Sold for £ 2,550 (€ 2,832). Courtesy Bonhams.

The baluster body decorated with figures on horseback accompanied by attendants, approaching a pavilion set in a fenced garden amongst pine, willow and bamboo, partly enveloped in swirling clouds, the shoulder with ruyi lappets enclosing Buddhist emblems and the foot with formal lappets, all reserved on a violet-blue ground.

A Fahua 'Shoulao and Immortals' panel, The panel late Ming Dynasty

Lot 65. A Fahua 'Shoulao and Immortals' panel, The panel late Ming Dynasty. The screen 47cm (18.1/2in) high. The panel 28cm (11in) squareEstimate £1,000 - 1,500. Sold for £ 6,312 (€ 7,010). Courtesy Bonhams.

Decorated to one side with a central figure of Shoulao flanked by attendants and Immortals to the foreground, in a clearing amongst pine and rockwork, the reverse with a seated and an equestrian figure in a similar landscape, later hongmu screen and stand.

Provenance: According to collection inventory, purchased at Sotheby's, 10/7/51, lot 83, M. Meyer Collection.


Lot 66. A famille verte 'landscape and mythical beast' panelled rouleau vase, Kangxi period (1662-1722), (18.1/4in) high. Estimate £1,000 - 1,500. Sold for £ 6,312 (€ 7,010). Courtesy Bonhams.

Finely enamelled with shaped panels of phoenix, deer, crane and a variety of further animals in verdant rocky landscapes, on a ground reserved with butterflies and flower sprays, the shoulder with panels of scholars' objects on a floral cell pattern ground.

Provenance: According to the collection inventory, purchased August 16th, 1949.


Lot 67. A famille verte square-section tapering 'landscape' vase, Kangxi period (1662-1722), 48cm (18.7/8in) high. Estimate £1,000 - 1,500. Sold for £ 21,312 (€ 23,669). Courtesy Bonhams.

Decorated with figures in sampans, on horseback and seated on pavilion terraces, overlooking serene mountainous river landscapes strewn with pine and willow, the flattened shoulder with four large chrysanthemum blooms on a floral cell-pattern ground.

Provenance: According to the collection inventory, purchased at Sotheby's, 30th November 1954.


Lot 68. A Cizhou and a Fahua vase, meiping, Yuan to Ming Dynasty, the tallest 29.2cm (11.1/2in) high. Estimate £800 - 1,200. Sold for £ 21,312 (€ 23,669). Courtesy Bonhams.

Comprising: a painted and turquoise glazed Cizhou vase, freely painted around the exterior with three cusped panels, two enclosing figures, the third a crane, on a floral and foliate scroll ground; the Fahua vase glazed in aubergine, yellow and white, reserved against a turquoise ground with flowering peonies issuing from rockwork, within floral ruyi and lappet borders.

Provenance: According to the collection inventory, the Cizhou vase purchased at Sotheby's, 16th March 1954.
The Fahua vase: purchased at Sotheby's 23/6/53, Lady Violet Benson Collection (labels).

A red and green enamelled 'dragon' dish, Underglaze blue Jiajing six-character mark and of the period (1522-1566)

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Lot 69. A red and green enamelled 'dragon' dish, Underglaze blue Jiajing six-character mark and of the period (1522-1566), 14.5cm (5.3/4in) diam. Estimate £1,000 - 1,500. Sold for £ 6,937 (€ 7,704). Courtesy Bonhams.

Decorated to the interior with an ascending and descending dragon in pursuit of the flaming pearl.


Lot 70. A group of monochrome and sancai decorated wares, Tang Dynasty. The tray 18.7cm (7.3/8in) diam. (6)Estimate £1,000 - 1,500. Sold for £ 31,312 (€ 34,775)Courtesy Bonhams.

Comprising: a sancai tripod tray, decorated with a carved central florette; two sancai jarlets, one with a cover; a blue glazed bowl; a green glazed bowl; and a green glazed stem dish.

Provenance: According to the catalogue inventory:
The tray: Purchased at Sotheby's 17th June 1953, G. Henley (?) collection.
The blue bowl: Bluett & Sons London (label), O.C.S Tang 1949 exhibition.
The green glazed cup: purchased at Sotheby's 24/05/55.
The green glazed stem dish: Bluett & Sons London (label). O.C.S Tang 1949 exhibition.

A group of five bronze mirrors Probably Han Dynasty and later

Lot 71. A group of five bronze mirrors Probably Han Dynasty and later. The largest 16cm (6.1/4in) diam. Estimate £1,000 - 1,500. Sold for £ 1,657 (€ 1,840)Courtesy Bonhams.

Comprising: a 'beast and grapevine' mirror; a flower-form 'mythical beast' mirror; a small 'TLV' mirror, box and cover; a square 'Heavenly Horses' mirror; and an octafoil mirror with Ci Fei the dragon slayer.

Two olive green glazed jars, Han Dynasty

Lot 72. Two olive green glazed jars, Han Dynasty. The tallest 14.7cm (5.3/4in) highEstimate £600 - 1,000. Sold for £ 637 (€ 708)Courtesy Bonhams.

Of squat baluster form, one with a moulded animal frieze to the shoulder.

Provenance: According to the collection inventory, the larger jar purchased at Sotheby's, 20/3/50, Cunliffe Collection, no. PH9 (label) and John Sparks Ltd. (label).
The smaller jar, purchased at Sotheby's 5/5/1959, Collection of Dennis Cohen.


Lot 73. A group of Junyao wares and a Junyao-style bowl, Song-Yuan Dynasty and later. The largest 19cm (7.1/2in) diam. Estimate £1,000 - 1,500. Sold for £ 112,562 (€ 125,011)Courtesy Bonhams.

Comprising: two small pale blue glazed bowls; a sky-blue glazed dish; a small splashed bowl; a deep Jun bowl; and Jun style pale blue crackle glazed conical bowl.

Provenance: according to the collection inventory:
The sky blue glazed dish: purchased at Sotheby's 15/05/62.
One small bowl: Henry Brown Collection, no. 25 (label), purchased at Sotheby's 13th July 1954.
The other small bowl: purchased at Sotheby's 3/11/53.
The deep bowl: Mrs. R. Benson Collection, purchased at Sotheby's 14/04/53.
The splashed bowl: purchased at Sotheby's 28/02/56.


Lot 74. A group of six various Jian, Jizhou and Henan ware bowls, Song Dynasty. The largest 12.7cm (5in) diam. Estimate £800 - 1,200. Sold for £ 11,312 (€ 12,563)Courtesy Bonhams.

Comprising: A Jizhou 'tortoiseshell' glazed bowl; a Jianyao bowl; a Henan 'oil spot' bowl; and three Jizhou 'papercut' bowls.


Lot 75. A group of Cizhou wares, Song-Yuan Dynasty. The jar 16.5cm (6.1/2in) wide. Estimate £600 - 1,000. Sold for £ 2,550 (€ 2,832)Courtesy Bonhams.

Comprising: two polychrome floral decorated dishes; and a foliate decorated squat jar with lug handles to the shoulder.

Provenance: According to the collection inventory, the jar purchased at Sotheby's 17/7/62.
The dishes purchased at Sotheby's 24th June 1958.


Lot 76A group of celadon-glazed wares, 13th-14th century and later. The mallet form vase 22cm (8.5/8in) high. Estimate £700 - 1,000. Sold for £ 10,062 (€ 11,175)Courtesy Bonhams.

Comprising: a mallet form fish-handled vase; a 'twin fish' small dish; a petal-moulded bowl; a small footed bowl; a squat jarlet; and a ribbed stoneware bowl.

Provenance: According to the collection inventory, the mallet vase purchased at Sotheby's 3/1/56.
The jarlet purchased at Sotheby's 10/12/57.
The petal moulded bowl, purchased at Sotheby's 24th June 1958, Collection of Sir Esler Dening.
The small footed bowl, purchased at Sotheby's 24/5/55.
The fish dish, purchased at Sotheby's 31/1/56.


Lot 77A group of celadon-glazed wares, 13th-14th century and later. The largest 16.5cm (6.1/2in) diam. Estimate £800 - 1,200. Sold for £ 5,312 (€ 5,900)Courtesy Bonhams.

Comprising: a water dropper with incised lotus petal decoration; a cosmetics box and cover; and five celadon glazed bowls, one with incised decorated to the interior.

Provenance: According to the collection inventory, the small bowl, purchased at Sotheby's 1/04/55.
One conical bowl, purchased at Sotheby's 29/10/57, collection of Mrs. Blanche White.
The cosmetics box, purchased at Sotheby's 05/6/56.
The deep bowl, purchased at Sotheby's 26/4/55.


Lot 78Two Korean slip-inlaid celadon wares Goryeo Dynasty, 13th century. The mallet form vase 22cm (8.5/8in) high. Estimate £700 - 1,000. Sold for £ 4,062 (€ 4,511)Courtesy Bonhams.

Comprising: a footed bowl with cranes amongst clouds; and a small bottle vase with flower sprays.

Provenance: According to the collection inventory, the bowl purchased at Sotheby's, 24th May 1964.
The bottle purchased at Sotheby's, 23rd April 1963, Bluett & Sons, London (label).


Lot 79A group of Qingbai wares, Song Dynasty. The largest 21.5cm (8.1/2in) diam. Estimate £500 - 1,000. Sold for £ 892 (€ 991)Courtesy Bonhams.

Comprising: a 'twin chilong' bowl; three small flower-form dishes; and a small floral decorated dish with upright rim.

Provenance: According to the collection inventory, the large bowl purchased at Sotheby's 12/5/53.
The small dish and pair of flower form dishes purchased at Sotheby's 9th December 1952.
The single flower form dish purchased at Sotheby's 1/12/53.


Lot 80. Two famille verte biscuit reticulated ewers and covers, Kangxi period (1662-1722). The tallest 16.5cm (6.1/2in) high. Estimate £600 - 800. Sold for £ 892 (€ 991)Courtesy Bonhams.

Of tapering hexagonal form, decorated with openwork panels of pine, bamboo and flowering plants, the reticulated covers with prunus blossom.

Provenance: One purchased from Sidney L. Moss, 14/6/50 (receipt). E.G Raphael Collection (label).

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Lot 81. A group of three famille verte floral dishes and a 'fruit and flowerspray' bowl, Kangxi period (1662-1722). The large dish 35.2cm (13.7/8in) diam. Estimate £800 - 1,200. Sold for £ 1,402 (€ 1,557)Courtesy Bonhams.

Comprising: a large dish decorated with a basket of a composite floral arrangement; a moulded petal-rim dish with exotic birds amongst flowers; another with a phoenix amongst peony sprays; and a deep bowl with a variety of fruit and flower sprays.

Provenance: The two smaller dishes purchased at Sotheby's 7/11/50, Mrs. Evelyn Stainton Collection. The bowl purchased at Burton House 1/3/50 according to the collection inventory.


Lot 82. A group of famille verte wares, Kangxi period (1662-1722). The ewer and cover 21.5cm (8.1/2in) high. Estimate £1,000 - 1,500. Sold for £ 2,550 (€ 2,832)Courtesy Bonhams.

Comprising: a 'flowerspray' ewer and cover; a peach-form Cadogan teapot decorated with panels of Shoulao and Guanyin; an 'antiquities' teapot; and a square tea caddy and cover similarly decorated.

Provenance: The teapot purchased at Burton House, 1/3/50. The ewer purchased at Burton House April 1950, according to the collection inventory.



Lot 83. blue and white box and cover and a copper-red decorated 'fish' stem cup, Kangxi period (1662-1722) and later. The box, 10cm (3 7/8in) diam. to the mouth. Estimate £400 - 600. Sold for £ 6,937 (€ 7,704)Courtesy Bonhams.

The box and cover painted with the 'hundred antiques' and beribboned Daoist emblems; the stem cup with copper-red fish decoration, and an apocryphal Xuande six-character mark within a double circle to the centre.

Provenance: According to the collection inventory, the jar and cover purchased at Sotheby's, 3 June 1958.
The cup, Seligman collection, no. II+8 (label).



Lot 84. group of famille verte biscuit wares, Kangxi period (1662-1722). The bowl 18cm (7.1/8in) diam. Estimate £700 - 1,000. Sold for £ 2,040 (€ 2,265)Courtesy Bonhams.

Comprising: a 'dragon' jar with later enamelled cover and neck; four various sweetmeat dishes; a pair of libation vessels; a square box and cover; and a bowl with mythical beasts and scattered blossom, apocryphal Jiajing six-character mark.

Provenance: According to the collection inventory, the box and cover purchased at Sotheby's, 3rd April 1951, from the collection of the Hon. Mrs. Bathurst.
The bowl, purchased at Sotheby's 30/4/53.
One sweetmeat dish, purchased at Sotheby's 10/7/51, M. Meyer Collection (label).
Leaf shaped dish: Purchased at Sotheby's 10/7/51, M. Meyer Collection (label).


Lot 85. A group of famille rose wares, Yongzheng-Qianlong period (1723-1795). The octagonal plate 22cm (8.5/8in) wide. Estimate £700 - 1,000. Sold for £ 16,312 (€ 18,116)Courtesy Bonhams.

Comprising: a ruby-ground octagonal plate with a lady and boys; a lobed 'cockerels' teapot stand; a floral teapot and cover; and two ruby-back dishes variously decorated with a lady, gentleman and boy attendants in interiors.

Provenance: according to the collection inventory:
The teapot stand: W. Martin Hurst collection (label). Purchased at Sotheby's 24/03/64.
The ruby back dishes: Purchased at Sotheby's 24/11/50.


Lot 86. A varied group of twenty-six famille rose export plates, 18th century. The largest 32cm (12.5/8in) diam. Estimate £700 - 1,000. Sold for £ 2,040 (€ 2,265)Courtesy Bonhams.

Variously decorated with figures in landscapes, flower sprays and birds amongst blossoming branches.


Lot 87. group of seven famille verte dishes, Kangxi period (1662-1722). The largest 28cm (11in) diam. Estimate £1,000 - 1,500. Sold for £ 11,312 (€ 12,563)Courtesy Bonhams.

Comprising: a 'butterfly and fruitspray' dish, apocryphal Chenghua six-character mark; a 'butterfly, grasshopper and camelia' dish; a pair of 'Eight Horses of Muwang' dishes; a 'bird and prunus blossom' dish, apocryphal Xuande six-character mark; a small dish with a gentleman and boy attendants, apocryphal Chenghua six-character mark; and a blue ground 'figural panels' dish.

Provenance: According to the collection inventory:
The gentleman and attendants dish, George Eumorfopoulos collection, no. D 126 (label). Purchased from H.G N. Norton, Museum Street, Holborn.
The butterfly and camelia dish: Oriental Ceramic Society Exhibition label, exhibited at the O.C.S 1951. Purchased at Sotheby's 6/04/54.
The butterfly and fruitspray dish: purchased at Sotheby's 11/05/54.
The horses dishes: bought at Morphets auction 21/07/49.
The bird and prunus dish: Bought at Sotheby's 1/02/52.

Bonhams. Asian Art. London, 2 Nov 2020