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Sir David Scholey and his wife Lady Alexandra Scholey's interior view. Courtesy Dreweatts.

LONDON.- Dreweatts will offer three important private collections in its upcoming sales of Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art (Part 1) on May 19, 2021 and Japanese & Chinese (Part 2) May 20, 2021. The collections include those from the former Governor of the BBC and Chairman of the National Portrait Gallery, Sir David Scholey, John Burke da Silva, Treasurer and Council member of the Oriental Ceramics Society and R. Ralph Parks, the former Executive Chairman of JP Morgan Chase for Asia Pacific.

Commenting on the collections, Dr. Yingwen Tao, Dreweatts Chinese and Asian Art Specialist, said: “We are thrilled to be able to offer such spectacular private collections in one sale. Each has been carefully curated by passionate collectors, who have chosen exceptional pieces of the very best quality. This is a wonderful opportunity to obtain the finest works with impeccable provenance.”

The Scholey Collection (lots 55-89) has been carefully amassed by Sir David Scholey and his wife Lady Alexandra Scholey. Their joint passion for the arts was demonstrated in their refurbishment of Heath End House in Hampstead, once the residence of American painter John Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903). They regularly added to the house with purchases from London antique dealers, which included their penchant for Chinese Porcelain, English furniture and silver cream jugs! Over time these filled the house, however having decided to relocate to smaller quarters in Florence, they are scaling down and therefore dispersing their wonderful collection of antiques, paintings and works of art.

Amongst the highlights of their collection is a pair of Chinese blue and white dishes from the Jiajing to Wanli period (1522-1619). The distinctive colour and subject matter (lotus blossom radiating from scrolling stems), are typical of the period and the style is highly sought-after. The base is inscribed with the four-character mark shang pin jia qi, meaning ‘high quality vessel’. It is estimated at £6,000-£8,000 (lot 63).

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Lot 63. A fine pair of Chinese blue and white dishes, Jiajing-Wanli (1522-1619); 18.8cm diameter. Estimate £6,000-£8,000Courtesy Dreweatts.

with shallow rounded sides, the interior decorated in underglaze blue in the centre with a lotus blossom centring radiating scrolling leafy stems, the exterior decorated in underglaze blue with lotus scroll, the base inscribed with a four-character shang pin jia qi ('high quality vessel') mark within a double circle.

Provenance: From the collection of Sir David and Lady Scholey.

Note: See a very similar dish with same mark, Sotheby's, the Collection of Edward T. Chow, 5th June 2020.

A striking pair of iron-red and underglaze-blue dishes from the Qianlong period (1735-1796), feature nine dragons in various spirited poses in shades of iron-red. Their bases are inscribed with the six-character seal marks of the period in underglaze blue. They are very similar to a pair offered at Sotheby's New York on 23rd September 2020. This pair (lot 65) has an estimate of £8,000-£12,000.

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Lot 65. A fine pair of iron-red and underglaze-blue 'Dragon' dishes, Qianlong seal marks and of the period (1735-1796); 17.7cm diameter. Estimate 8,000 - 12,000 GBPCourtesy Dreweatts.

each with shallow rounded sides rising from a small slightly tapered foot to an everted rim, the interior finely painted with a central medallion enclosing an iron-red five-clawed dragon among waves of contrasting underglaze blue, all within a double-line border repeated at the rim, the exterior similarly decorated with nine dragons in various spirited poses in shades of iron-red, the base inscribed with a six-character seal mark in underglaze blue, 17.7cm diameter (2).

Provenance: From the collection of Sir David and Lady Scholey.

Note: See a similar pair sold at Sotheby's New York, 23rd September 2020, Lot 245.

A rare Chinese porcelain 'Lotus' bowl from the same collection, combines a white body with a blue-toned glaze and lotus scroll detailing on its exterior. The bowl is from the Kangxi period (1661–1722) and bears the four-character mark on its’ base Shan Fang gu translated as: 'Shangshan imitating the ancient'. Shang Shan was the alias of Guo Pengling (1654-1722), whose ancestors were originally from Tai Yuan in north China, but moved to Yang Zhou along the Yangtze River.

Guo became a Jinshi (metropolitan graduate of the Chinese Imperial Examinations) in 1678 and took up various posts in civil service afterwards. He was remembered for his literary accomplishments, having produced several volumes including the Yinshan Tang Xinggao (Manuscript of the Yinshan Hall) and the Zhitang Shiji (Collected Poetry of the Fungus Hall). The bowl is of direct comparison to an almost identical bowl in the British Museum, from the Sir Percival David Foundation. Of exceptional quality and skill, the bowl (Lot 64) is estimated at £800-£1,200.

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 Lot 64. A rare Chinese porcelain 'Lotus' bowl, Shang shan fang gu ('Shangshan imitating the ancient') mark, Kangxi period (1662-1722); 19.2cm diameter. Estimate 800 - 1,200 GBP. Courtesy Dreweatts.

white body and blue-toned glaze, brown line rim, the exterior with incised lotus scroll, the base marked in underglaze blue four character mark with double line square border 商山仿古 (Shang shan fang gu 'Shangshan imitating the ancient'), wood stand.

Provenance: From the collection of Sir David and Lady Scholey.

Note: Shang Shan was the alias of Guo Pengling (1654-1722), whose ancestors were originally from Tai Yuan in north China but had moved to Yang Zhou along the Yangtze River. Guo became a jinshi (metropolitan graduate) in 1678 and took up various posts in civil service afterwards. He was remembered for his literary accomplishments, having produced several volumes including the Yinshan Tang Xinggao (Manuscript of the Yinshan Hall) and the Zhitang Shiji (Collected Poetry of the Fungus Hall). Compare with an almost identical bowl in the British Museum on display (G95/dc46/sh9) from the Sir Percival David Foundation, museum no. PDF,A.408. See Ming Wilson, 1999, Rare Marks on Chinese Ceramics, a joint exhibition from the Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum, pp82-83.

The second collection offered in the sale is that of the late John Burke da Silva and his wife Jennifer da Silva. John da Silva was a passionate collector, his first two purchases came from Portobello Road, London in September 1958. By the summer of 1960 he had a dozen pieces of blue and white, which all went with him when he was posted with the Foreign and Commonwealth service to Bahrain in the autumn of 1960, as well as to subsequent posts abroad.

John joined the Oriental Ceramics Society in 1960, serving on the Council firstly from 1977-1980 and then from 1984-1987, becoming Hon Treasurer from 1992-1994. His favourite was Ming blue and white until about 1990, when the simplicity of earlier white wares caught his eye. After John’s death in 2003, part of his collection was sold, with his wife Jennifer retaining pieces she particularly liked and greatly enjoyed living with, until her death in August 2020, aged 88. These are the pieces being offered for sale (lots 12-54).

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The late John Burke da Silva and his wife Jennifer da Silva's interior view.

Amongst the highlights is a fine Chinese shufu dish from the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368). The centre of the dish features stylised lotus blooms and is covered with a thick bluish-white glaze. It bears the characters Shu and Fu, which was typical of the porcelain made during this period. It was the first-known porcelain ordered by the Imperial court for ceremonial use, with the characters literally meaning ‘Privy Council’, a Yuan central bureau of military and civil affairs. A similar Shufu dish is on view at the British Museum. This example (lot 18) is estimated to fetch £3,000-£5,000.

A fine Chinese moulded shufu dish, Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368)

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Lot 18. A fine Chinese moulded shufu dish, Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368); 13.3cm diameter3,000 - 5,000 GBP. Courtesy Dreweatts.

the centre of the shallow dish moulded with four stylised lotus blooms, the moulded well with a band of stylised lotus scroll containing the characters Shu and Fu, and covered overall with a thick, unctuous glaze of very pale bluish-white tone, the base unglazed.

Provenance: From the collection of the late J.B. da Silva (1918-2003) and by family descent. Bought at Christie's South Kensington for £34, 7th November 1995, lot 563. No receipt but mentioned in collection notes.

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Note: See a very similar Shufu dish sold at Christie's HK, Lot 3207, 3rd June 2015; another similar example at the British Museum, accession number 1984, 0202.19. 

A stunning 16th century blue and white dish in the sale, from the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) features a fei-yu dragon pursuing a flaming pearl, surrounded by waves and clouds. The dish was exhibited at the British Museum and at the Oriental Ceramics Society in 1994 and a similar dish can be found at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. The dish (lot 29), is estimated at £1,500 - £2,500.

A good Chinese blue and white dish, Ming Dynasty, 16th century

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 Lot 29. A good Chinese blue and white dish, Ming Dynasty, 16th century; 31.5cm diameter. Estimate 1,500 - 2,500 GBP. Courtesy Dreweatts.

with barbed rim, decorated with a fei-yu dragon pursuing a flaming pearl surrounded by waves, clouds and diaper border, the exterior with a continuous band of lotus flowers and foliage.

Provenance: Purchased by the late J.B. da Silva (1918-2003) at Sotheby's, 26th April 1966, Lot 51, for £62.00, and then by family descent. No receipt but itemised in collection notes.

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Exhibited: British Museum, Research Display of Chinese Sixteenth Century CeramicsThe British Museum and the Oriental Ceramics Society, Oriental Bridge- October and November 1994', case 1a, No. 25 and illustrated in the hand list for the exhibition and dated in the catalogue as late 15th to early 16th century.

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Note: Compare with a dish of related design in the Metropolitan Museum, New York, Accession Number: 1970.240 and dated to second quarter of the 16th century.

The sale also offers a rare Ming Dynasty Chinese blue and white figure of Zhongli Quan (lot 32), standing on an oval base decorated with turbulent waves and a rock representing the sacred mountain to the middle. With an estimate of £3,000-£5,000, it was first purchased at Bluett & Sons in 9th September 1963 for £85.00 and by family descent. J. B da Silva (1918-2003) writes in the family notes: 'two old and close friends invited us (Mr and Mrs da Silva) to choose something at Bluett's, the best and nicest of oriental dealers, as a wedding present, and after much deliberation we selected a 16th century blue and white figure of Zhongli Quan, one of the eight Daoist Immortals.'

The figure was exhibited at Oriental Ceramics Society in 1979 and at a joint British Museum and Oriental Ceramics Society exhibition, Jessica Harrison-Hall, ‘Research Display of Chinese Sixteenth Century Ceramics, The British Museum and the Oriental Ceramics Society’ in October and November 1994.

A rare Chinese blue and white figure of Zhongli Quan, Ming Dynasty, late 16th or early 17th century

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Lot 32. A rare Chinese blue and white figure of Zhongli Quan, Ming Dynasty, late 16th-early 17th century; 22.5cm tall. Estimate 3,000 - 5,000 GBPCourtesy Dreweatts.

standing on an oval base decorated with turbulent waves with a rock representing the sacred mountain to the middle, with paper labels for both Bluett & Sons and the joint O.C.S & BM Exhibition 1994, No. 84.

Provenance: Purchased at Bluett & Sons, 9th September, 1963 for £85.00 and by family descent. Sold with original receipt.

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Exhibited: OCS October 1979, no. 100 and at the joint British Museum and OCS exhibition, Jessica Harrison-Hall, Research Display of Chinese Sixteenth Century CeramicsThe British Museum and the Oriental Ceramics Society, Oriental Bridge- October and November 1994, case 2a, No. 84 and illustrated in the hand list for the exhibition and dated in the catalogue as late 16th-early 17th century.

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Note: J. B da Silva (1918-2003) writes in the family notes: 'two old and close friends invited us (Mr and Mrs da Silva) to choose something at Bluett's, the best and nicest of oriental dealers, as a wedding present, and after much deliberation we selected a 16th century blue and white figure of Zhongli Quan, one of the eight Daoist Immortals.' 

The private collection of R. Ralph Parks consists of some outstanding Chinese ceramics (lots 1-11). American-born Parks developed a penchant for the fine and decorative arts early on. His ensuing career with Merrill Lynch and then JP Morgan Chase, took him to Asia where he amassed a collection of Chinese export silver and Song Dynasty porcelain, some of which is offered in this sale.

Among the highlights of Ralph and his wife Wendy’s collection is a pair of Chinese Qingbai lobed bowls from the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Qingbai was a type of Chinese porcelain produced under the Song and Yuan Dynasties and defined by the ceramic glaze used. The bowls (lot 9) feature foliate rims divided into six lobes. Their interiors are decorated with a peony flower and leaves carved and combed in painterly strokes. The bowls are applied with a transparent glaze, with a bluish colour, pooling to a deeper tone around the foot. The pair is estimated at £800-£1,000.

A pair of Chinese qingbai lobed bowls, Song Dynasty (960-1279)

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Lot 9. A pair of Chinese qingbai lobed bowls, Song Dynasty (960-1279);19.3cm diameter. Estimate 800 - 1,000 GBP.  Courtesy Dreweatts.

the everted foliate rims divided into six lobes, the interiors with a peony flower and leaves carved and combed in painterly strokes, applied with a transparent glaze with a bluish colour pooling to a deeper tone around the foot.

Provenance: From the Collection of R. Ralph Parks. The pair purchased from Po Yuen Tong, Hong Kong, 2nd March 2002.

A fine pair of white-glazed five-petalled foliate dishes (lot 1), would fit into any contemporary home even, fascinating then that they date from the 10th century! The flaring sides are supported on a short foot and surmounted by an undulating five-bracket lobed rim. They are covered in a bright white glaze and are estimated at £1,500-£2,500.

A fine pair of white-glazed five-petalled foliate dishes, Five Dynasties, circa 10th century

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Lot 1. A fine pair of white-glazed five-petalled foliate dishes, Five Dynasties, circa 10th century; 15.7cm diameter. 1,500 - 2,500 GBPCourtesy Dreweatts.

the flaring sides supported on a short foot and surmounted by an undulating five-bracket lobed rim, covered evenly in a bright, transparent white glaze, the base not glazed exposing the white body. 

Provenance: From the Collection of R. Ralph Parks. The pair purchased from Po Yuen Tong, Hong Kong, 5th January 2001.

Note: See a similar dish sold at Sotheby's London, 18 May 2018, Lot 532 and Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, London 1994-2010, vol. 1, no. 346 (related dish attributed to the Ding kilns).