Chinese Ceramic Collection Spanning More Than Two Centuries Comes to Auction at Bonhams

New York – Presented in a Bonhams online auction from October 10-19, the Richard and Maxine Markell Chinese ceramic collection features an exceptional selection of fine enameled porcelains which span 250 years of Chinese ceramic production. The collection of more than 150 lots reflects the couple's shared love of collecting and appreciation for fine export ceramics. The earliest works date from the beginning of the Qing dynasty (1644) and generally reflect the western taste for the 'Famille Verte' and 'Famille Rose' wares of the Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong reins (1662-1796).

Based in Connecticut, the Markell's quietly amassed their significant collection of Chinese ceramics while running a small family business from 1950s until their passing. During that time, they discovered that they had a common passion for collecting Chinese porcelains which spurred them to buy and decorate their home with treasures they found through traveling, reasoning that if people had been living with and enjoying the beautiful pieces for centuries, they should as well. Their collection came from some of the best dealers of their generation including Alberto Santos, Richard Marchant, Anita Gray, and Vanderven & Vanderven on their annual visits to fairs and galleries in the UK as well as Ralph M. Chait and Philip Suval in the US.

The collection features a wide-range of famille rose wares including a group of ceramics made for the imbibing of tea and including teapots, tea bowls, teacups and saucers, creamers, beakers, bowls and caddies in addition to Kendi (water-pourers) and Zhadou (spittoons). A pair of cockerel tea bowls and one saucer, with the extremely rare addition of the artists seals alongside a spectacular image of a crowing cockerel is a highlight of the sale, estimated at $3,000 – 5,000. Additionally, a superb early famille Yonzheng rose teapot and cover which was hand-painted in brilliant bright enamels and depicts a pierced basket of peony and magnolia and a bowl of fruit is estimated at $5,000 – 7,000.

Standouts of the famille verte wares includes a group of foliate dishes painted with dragons, flower baskets, pine, willow phoenix and vessels as well as rare small tureens with human mask handles, goblets, cups, and saucers in an array of designs. In addition, the sale will feature an extremely rare pair of ormolu-mounted 'Madame de Pompadour' cachepots circa 1745, estimated at $15,000 – 20,000.


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