£8.8million sale of Chinese art smashes records for provincial auction houses

May 25, 2010 | by | 0 Comments

A sale of Asian art has smashed the British record for the most money ever spent at a provincial auction by grossing over £8.8million.

The sale at Woolley and Wallis in Salisbury, Wilts., lasted two days with the first involving Chinese jade and hardstone carvings.

Among the artefacts from Crichel House, Dorset, was an Imperial jade bell which sold for £2.4million and a pair of carved jade elephants, which raised £1.2million.

The final day was a general sale of Asian art which brought the total spent to £8.8million and broke the record for the highest grossing auction outside London.

Woolley and Wallis held the previous record of £6million, which was set last year.

John Axford, head of the auction house’s Asian Art department, said they are very ”proud” of the successful sale.

He said: ”It’s been an incredibly busy two days but we couldn’t be more pleased or proud with the results.

”This is the second year running that we have sold the top lot in the UK’s Asian Art week.

”The Chinese trade now know Salisbury as a centre for Asian Art and we want to keep it that way.”

The sale attracted international interest with the highest bids coming from Chinese buyers.

An ”incredibly rare” 18th century Imperial jade bell, one of four ever made, fetched the top price of £2.4million.

The second highest item was two 18th century jade elephants which stood either side of Emperor Qianlong’s throne and fetched £1.2 million.

In third place was a jade carving of a boulder from a private collection, which sold for £478,000.

The first day of the auction featured many items from the Crichel House estate of the Honourable Mary Anna Marten OBE, who died in January this year.

The first day grossed around £8.27million whilst the second day earnt a further £530,000.

Last year Woolley and Wallis broke the record for the highest selling lot in an auction outside London when a tiny water buffalo carving went for £4.16million.

Auctioneer Clare Durham said: ”This was our highest grossing single sale and in fact the highest ever in an English provincial auction house.

”Last year’s sale we broke the record for the highest single lot, £4.2million, and we are already looking forward to next year because we have some good things in the bag.”

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