Renowned Chinese art collector Reginald Howard Reed Palmer and his wife Lena.
Hong Kong – Christie's is proud to announce an upcoming live auction dedicated to showcasing the extraordinary Palmer Family Collection, one of the most significant private European collections of Chinese art. The sale, A Heritage of Appreciation – Selected Treasures from The Palmer Family Collection, to take place on 30 May at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, will present 63 lots that are representative of this remarkable collection, including examples of Imperial Qing porcelains, classic Ming blue and white porcelains, early ceramics, metalworks, painted enamels, and jade carvings.
This remarkable collection was started by William Howard Palmer (1865-1923, great-grandfather to the current owners and known as Howard) and his wife Ada (1870-1953). The collection then passed to their only son, Reginald Howard Reed Palmer (1898-1970, grandfather of the current owners and known as Reggie), who, with his wife Lena (1900-1981), added the greatest number of pieces to the family’s collection of Chinese art.
The Palmer family were the founders of the world-renowned Huntley & Palmer Biscuits, which started in the late 19th century and soon became the leading global manufacturer of cakes and biscuits. In its peak, the firm was the largest in the world and by 1913 it employed over 8,000 workers at their headquarters near Reading, Berkshire. Reggie and Lena were pivotal figures in the Chinese Works of Art collecting circle in Britain and, following in the footsteps of their forebearers, made a lasting impact in the field – thanks to their generosity, most pieces in the collection were widely exhibited in landmark exhibitions across Britain, namely the International Exhibition of Chinese Art at the Royal Academy in London in 1935.
Marco Almeida, Head of Department, Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, commented, “We are truly honoured to be entrusted with the sale of a selection of exquisite treasures from this collection - a collection that demonstrates devotion to and admiration for Chinese art by the Palmer family. One of Europe’s most distinguished collections, the Palmer Family Collection offers an insight into the progression and growth of Chinese art from a unique perspective. This sale underpins Christie’s lifelong relationship with the Palmer family, having first offered part of their collection in 1982 in London, and then in 1989 in Hong Kong. We look forward to sharing their magnificent collection once again with seasoned and new collectors this May in Hong Kong.”
A very rare and fine famille rose black-back flowers and birds’ dish, Yongzheng six-character mark in underglaze blue within a double circle and of the period (1723-1735) 7.5/8 in. (19.3 cm.) diam. Estimate: HK$5,000,000 – 7,000,000 / US$640,000 – 900,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2023.
This exceptionally rare Yongzheng Famille Rose Black-Back Dish showcases the exquisite craftsmanship of the period (1723- 1735). The dish is intricately painted with four auspicious sparrows, symbolising happiness and the arrival of spring, alongside two colours of blossoming prunus and bamboo. The naturalistic depiction of the sparrows, a favoured subject for Chinese painters, is complemented by the exceptionally wellrendered prunus blossoms, which signify perseverance, purity, vigorous old age, and renewal. The bamboo, a symbol of humility, fidelity, moral integrity, and peace, further enhances the dish's auspicious imagery.
The dish boasts a rich provenance, having been with the esteemed dealers Yamanaka & Co. Ltd. in London in the 1930s. R.H.R Palmer purchased it from Yamanaka in July 1936 and added it to the Palmer Collection as no. 422. Mr. and Mrs. Palmer later loaned the dish to the 1951 London Oriental Ceramic Society Exhibition of Enamelled Polychrome Porcelain of the Manchu Dynasty 1644-1912, as exhibit 65.
A famille verte cylindrical brush pot, Kangxi period (1662-1722). Estimate: HK$600,000 – 800,000 / US$77,000 – 100,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2023.
A rare large polychrome double-gourd vase, Wanli period (1573-1619). Estimate: HK$400,000 – 600,000 US$52,000 – 77,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2023.
A small famille verte baluster vase, Kangxi period (1662-1722). Estimate: HK$400,000 – 600,000 US$52,000 – 77,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2023.
A pair of famille noire dishes, Yongzheng six-character marks in underglaze blue within double circles and of the period (1723-1735). Estimate: HK$400,000 – 600,000 / US$52,000 – 77,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2023.
A pair of famille noire vases, Yongzheng period (1723-1735). Estimate: HK$400,000 – 600,000 / US$52,000 – 77,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2023.
A very rare pair of cloisonné enamel ‘phoenix’ circular boxes and covers, Qianlong period (1736-1795). Estimate: HK$400,000 – 600,000 / US$52,000 – 77,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2023.
A pair of small painted enamel yellow-ground bottle vases, Qianlong six-character seal marks within rectangles in blue enamel and of the period (1736-1795). Estimate: HK$300,000 – 500,000 / US$39,000 – 64,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2023.