Asian Antiques Appraisals And Valuations

Lyon & Turnbull – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Lyon & Turnbull

Fine Asian Works of Art

Sale Date: 11 Dec 2013 10am

33 Broughton Place
United Kingdom

View the catalogue HERE

The Good

I have always found Lyon & Turnbulls to be a professional outfit, their Asian art specialist is a guy called Lee Young and in my opinion he is one of the most honest and genuine guys in the business, he always aims to put a good sale together and researches everything to the best of his ability, he will truthfully tell you whether a lot is trade or private and has always been very approachable and friendly, in fact the whole buying experience with this firm is a pleasant one, a very rare commodity these days. True Professionals!


Estimate: £8,000 – £12,000

I would happily give £12,000 for these fabulous Canton boxes, mark my words these will fly, i have a large bid myself on these items but i know my bid will not be enough – stunning stunning pieces.

Lot Description: PAIR OF CANTON ENAMEL FLORIFORM BOXES AND COVERS ONE QIANLONG MARK AND PERIOD, THE OTHER OF A LATER DATE of eight lobed compressed form, a central medallion with star shape framed by ruyi heads, each lobe with lotus flower heads in yellow, rose and blue, framed by upright green leaves, all on a lavender ground, the reverse with four character mark of Qianlong in blue enamel on a white ground within a double square on a yellow ground with further lotus, the base similarly decorated with lotus, the interior with a light blue enamel, on a gilt copper ground (2) 12cm long, 3.5cm high.

Decription: Lot 366 AN UNUSUAL BLUE AND WHITE `ALMS` BOWL POSSIBLY QIANLONG PERIOD the exterior decorated with lotus blooms among stylised scrolling foliage, below a border of ruyi heads to the rim, the cobalt blue generously applied and resulting in a `heaping and piling` effect. Estimate: £2,000 - £4,000
Decription: Lot 366 AN UNUSUAL BLUE AND WHITE `ALMS` BOWL POSSIBLY QIANLONG PERIOD the exterior decorated with lotus blooms among stylised scrolling foliage, below a border of ruyi heads to the rim, the cobalt blue generously applied and resulting in a `heaping and piling` effect. Estimate: £2,000 – £4,000

I was initially all over this piece as period ones have sold for £100,000 plus, after closer inspection i am not convinced the alms bowl is Qianlong.

The alms bowl is a symbol of the Buddhist monk, and by Buddhist law is the only item a monk is allowed to possess. The Qianlong emperor was a devout Buddhist, and numerous Buddhist implements and artworks were created under his direction. Many examples of alms bowls made during his reign in jade, cloisonné enamel and lacquer are evident, although alms bowls made of porcelain are relatively rare.

Another blue and white-decorated porcelain alms bowl, dated to the Qianlong period, is illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum – Blue and White Porcelain with Underglaze Red (III), Hong Kong, 2000, p. 156, no. 142, where it is noted that during the third year of Qianlong’s reign, as recorded in the Qianlong Jishidang (Records of Qianlong), that the Imperial kilns received an order to create an underglaze blue and white alms bowl in the Xuande style, which is believed to be the bowl retained by the Palace Museum.


I did not even pick this up and look, pointless as every man and his dog knows exactly what it’s worth if period.

Decription: Lot 428

AN INSCRIBED AND DATED LIME GREEN GROUND FAMILLE ROSE TEA TRAY JIAQING SEAL MARK AND OF THE PERIOD, DATED 1797 of quatrefoil form raised on four low bracket feet, painted in the centre in iron red with an Imperial poem, enclosed by scrolling sprays of lotus and other flowers in famille rose enamels within gilt borders reserved on a lime green ground, with an iron red seal mark to the base 16cm wide Note: The inscribed poem reads: Fine tea is a great gift for an emperor, drinking and writing poetry by the light of the moon, Adding new fire to the bamboo stove, the water boils like rushing waves, Tea leaves flutter like fish and crabs eyes, gathering like shadows of banners and spears, A cup of tea clears the mind, and keeps away the cold chills of spring. For a similar tea tray, see Sotheby`s, 15 May 2013, lot 319 Estimate: £2,000 – £3,000



Brightly enameled against a lime-green ground with bats, peaches and endless knots interspersed amongst lotus blooms emanating from scrolling foliate sprays within lapet bands, the neck with geometric scrolls, red seal mark 23cm high.

Estimate: £30,000 – £50,000.

I am certain this is the same vase that went unsold in Christie’s on the 15th of May 2012.  See Christie’s vase and description below for comparison.


Christies original description: Lot 379 A famille rose turquoise-ground, baluster vase. Jiaqing iron-red seal mark and of the period (1796-1820)

The vase is decorated with bats surrounded by large stylised lotus blooms with delicately painted leafy stems, all below a large ruyi-shaped band to the shoulder.

8 7/8 in. (22.6 cm.) high.

Estimate £80,000 – £120,000. 

Unsold 15th of May 2012.


daoguang-trayDescription: Lot 434 A FAMILLE ROSE SQUARE DISH AND STAND DAOGUANG SEAL MARK AND OF THE PERIOD the sides decorated in iron red and gilt with geometric and ruyi bands, the divided interior painted with insect and flower sprays, red seal painted 13cm wide. Estimate: £3,000 – £5,000

Unsold from Bonhams sale on the 8th of Nov 2012 Lot no 86

Estimate £4000 – £5000


bamboo-snuff-bottleDescription: Lot 262

FINE BAMBOO VENEER `DRAGON` SNUFF BOTTLE QIANLONG PERIOD of flattened ovoid form, the sides finely carved with dragon and ruyi heads 6.5cm high Estimate: £2,500 – £3,500

Nice thing but sadly another unsold ex Bonhams lot.


ming-bowlDescription: Lot 361 A LARGE BLUE AND WHITE `PHOENIX` BOWL CHENGHUA MARK BUT 17TH CENTURY the sides painted with phoenix… Estimate: £8,000 – £12,000

I quite liked this large Ming bowl but the estimate is too high.



Description: Lot 342 A FLAMBE GLAZED VASE YONGZHENG SEAL MARK AND OF THE PERIOD of elongated pear shape, the sides with…

Estimate: £8,000 – £12,000

Again pointless even looking at this piece as it did the rounds during Asia week in London and if period will make exactly what its worth.


The Bad

Too many modern pieces of bronze & porcelain wrongly described as old, also disappointing to see the majority of Jade on offer is also modern. To be fair the sale is a lot better than most provincial Asian art sales and there is enough genuine pieces on offer to make the sale a worthy trip, the staff are great as is the service.

The Ugly

The estimates are way too high on a lot of mediocre items, but i fully understand there will be pieces with reserves hence the high estimates.


Chinese Antique Valuations And Appraisals

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Then you should really consider using our Chinese Antique Valuation Service as the last thing you want to do is risk under selling the piece due to lack of knowledge or ill gotten advice.