Provenance - Tracing the History of Objects

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provenance NOUN mass noun Pronunciation provenance/pr v(ə)nəns a

Word forms: plural provenances 1 The place of origin or earliest known history of something. 1.1 The beginning of something’s existence; something’s origin. 1.2 (count noun) A record of ownership of a work of art or an antique, used as a guide to authenticity or quality. Origin Late 18th century: from French, from the verb provenir ‘come or stem from’, from Latin provenire, from pro- ‘forth’ + venire ‘come’.

PROVENANCE tracing the history of objects


tracing the history of objects

When I started working in this profession in 1988, the phenomenon of provenance was fairly inconsequential in the realm of Chinese art. A dealer or exhibition label on an object was generally noted as a quirky, but not a particularly significant addition. The focus lay heavily on the object itself. Now provenance has become a vital part of an object, in addition to authenticity, condition and rarity. It tells you about the owners at a certain point in time, putting the object in the perspective of its whereabouts and taste of that period. Each time an object changes hands, another new chapter is added to its history. Interestingly enough, we as dealers and you as buyers, are adding provenance to objects by obtaining it, cherishing it and then passing it on to the next owner. Acquiring out of print Chinese Art collection catalogues, has had my particular interest since the early years of my career. To this day, not an antiquarian bookshop, friend’s shelf or antique market goes unscrutinized for new additions to our already abundant library. We have museum, dealer and collector’s catalogues, old and new reference books and a multitude of auction catalogues from all over the world. More recently a host of digital resources as well. We delve into them time and again, to discover more about the history and background of the pieces in the Vanderven collection. This way we add history and so bring them to life, which often makes us feel like historical detectives. Luckily, there is also still so much out there to discover.

Vanderven Oriental Art The Netherlands Tel. +31 (0)73 614 62 51

This new catalogue Provenance, is intended to convey our great admiration for Chinese objects, but especially the amazing stories they convey to the world. We hope you will enjoy reading it, as much as we did making it and join us in discovering the tale each object has to tell!

Floris van der Ven


1 | Triple Gourd Vase China, Kangxi period (1662-1722) H: 102 cm

A monumental triple gourd vase (huluping) decorated in underglaze blue. The two lower bulbs – which are predominantly blue - are decorated in reserve with white stylized dragons, meandering foliage and peony flowers. The lower section has additional medallions with stylized chrysanthemums in a circle of various leaves. The top section has a more geometric design in blue on a white ground , with multi lobed cartouches filled with lotus flowers and scrolls which are surrounded by floral band latticing. The lower part of the trumpet shaped neck is decorated with plantain leaves, the mouth has a plain double blue line. provenance

J.P. Pierpont Morgan Collection no.1464 Duveen Brothers New York Norton Simon Foundation, 1965 Parke Bernet Galleries, May 1971, Lot 36 Private Collection USA, 2017 literature

Bernheimer 1991/92, p.102 nr. 29 Bondy 1923, p.108 Bushell 1904), illustrated pl. CXLIX Campbell 2014, p.48 Hobson 1915, pl.91 fig.1 Davids & Jellinek 2011, p.159, 328 & 399 Jörg & van Campen 1997, nr. 93 Lepke 1920, nr. 780 New York 1907, nr. 90 Parke-Bernet 1971 p.16 Lot 36 Scagliola 2012, p.164 pl.87 Zimmerman 1923, Vol II, pl.78


The large size of this vase testifies to the remarkable technical achievement of the Jingdezhen potters in the early 18th century. It would have been made in separate parts and then ‘looted’ together before firing. Such large scale porcelain was no doubt intended for one of the European courts. The most notable collector of large scale porcelain was the Elector of Saxony for his court in Dresden - Augustus the Strong. This collection currently still holds five comparable large vases. Other examples are in the Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam) and the Laura Collection (Italy). This triple gourd vase is particularly special because of the incredible documented provenance. Through labels and documentation, we can trace it back nearly 100 years to the collection of the famous banker and avid art collector John Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913). The rich history is underlined by a charred old note we found inside the vase, which was signed by a wealthy New York Gilded Age socialite, Mrs Arthur (Harriet) Curtiss James (1867-1941), who must have frequented the same social circles as Morgan. The discovered note certainly places this vase firmly in the era of J.P. Morgan.


Research found that, like Morgan, Arthur Curtiss James was one of the wealthiest men in the country. His fortune was made from mining and his railroad empire - which included a seventh of the entire railroad network in the United States. He was a quiet, conservative man, focused mainly on his many charitable contributions rather than society - which he seems to have left to his wife Harriet.


S. Bushell, Catalogue of the Morgan Collection of Chinese Porcelains, New York, 1904, pl.CXLIX exhibited

Special loan exhibition of rare Chinese porcelains in aid of various charities, Duveen Brothers Galleries, New York, 1907, Los Angeles County Museum 1965-1971


Morgan and Curtiss James were contemporaries both living in New York, with mansions on Park Avenue. Curtiss even sold his neighbouring plot to a J.P Morgan partner. They would have certainly known each other socially, as they were both active members and commodore of the New York Yacht Club. They also sat together on various boards of charitable institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum, Museum of Natural History and the New York Philharmonic. Why and how the note from Mrs Curtiss James ended up in the vases for over 100 years is unclear.


John Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913) Not only was J.P. Morgan one of the most commanding economic figures of his age, he also developed into a voracious art collector and patron. Morgan spent the last decades of his life - particularly from the 1890s - adding art and antiques to his impressive and legendary collection. His collecting fields were diverse and comprehensive, comprising paintings, books, sculptures, furniture and significant works of art from around the world. During the last two decades of his life he spent a massive $60 million acquiring art, about $900 million by today’s standards. 10

Banker & Chinese Porcelain Collector Even though Oriental art was not his primary focus, he built his impressive Chinese ceramics collection, using his keen eye and personal intuition. He acquired most of his porcelain by buying entire collections, often with the help of the legendary dealers Duveen Brothers. One such large collection was that of James A. Garland - one of the finest collections in existence at that time - comprising over a thousand Kangxi period blue and white and enamelled porcelains. The collection, which Garland had acquired via Henry Duveen in New York, was on loan to the then recently established Metropolitan Museum until his demise in 1902. The entire collection was then re-acquired by Duveen for $500,000 and Morgan went on to purchase it for $600,000. He commissioned Duveen to fill in any gaps, to make it even more complete. Another collection Morgan acquired in 1910 was that of the wealthy Marsden J. Perry (1850-1935).

Morgan self-published the first catalogue of his collection in 1904 and circulated it privately. The second revised edition of the catalogue was a single volume, edited by William Laffan, with Stephen Bushell, was published by the Metropolitan Museum in 1907. To the grave disappointment of the Metropolitan Museum, after Morgan’s death in 1913, his son J.P. Morgan Jr (Jack), decided to sell the collection back to Henry Duveen for $3 million in 1915. This was partly to meet his father’s cash bequests and New York state inheritance tax. Duveen went on to sell the pieces to J.D. Rockefeller, Henry Clay Frick and P.A.B. Widener in the course of 1916 for $3,350,000.


Auchincloss 1990, p.62 Behrman 1952 Bushell 1904 Bushell & Laffan 1907 Duveen 1935 p.123-146 Secreest 2004, p.91

Morgan’s confidence in dealing with art dealers is captured in an anecdote. On one particular visit to his Madison Avenue mansion he presented the Duveens with five Kangxi vases declaring that two of them were fakes. Without hesitation the elder Joseph Joel Duveen raised his cane and smashed two of the vases, explaining that if he were mistaken, he’d reimburse Morgan for the loss. Duveen had been correct, and the astonished J. P. Morgan was both relieved and impressed.


2 | Fishermen Plate China, Yongzheng (1723-1735), c.1730 Ø: 21,5 cm

A semi egg-shell famille rose porcelain plate, delicately painted with a scene of four fishermen holding nets and creel. On the slanting rim, is a continuous landscape with boats and men fishing with a rod, spear and nets. The water is represented by washes of a lustrous green enamel. The palette is predominantly green tones; except the reverse, which has three flowersprays in pink enamels on the rim. In China fishing was considered a poetic ideal, associated with a peaceful life in the country. Fish are also a symbolic of abundance be it food, offspring or wealth. This type of scene would no doubt have been inspired by the emergence woodblock printing in the Ming Dynasty, which popularised the depiction of everyday activities in China.


James Garland Collection USA, (label nr.888) J.P. Morgan Collection, USA (label nr.1112) Christie’s London, April 1990 Anton Dreesmann Collection (label nr.J151) Christie’s Amsterdam April 2002 (label) Private Collection, The Netherlands 2018 literature

Pei 2004 p.79 St. Clair 2016, p.134-136 Strouse 2000 Suchomel 2015, nr.272 Welch 2008, p.96 Williamson 1970, pl.XXX


The labels on this plate testify it was in the Garland, as well as in the Morgan, collection in the latter part of the 19th century. Morgan’s collection, which was on loan to the Metropolitan Museum, was sold by his son to the Duveen Brothers in 1913. Through them this large collection was dispersed, many pieces being sold to the next generation of affluent collectors such as Rockefeller and Frick. This plate re-emerged on the market in London in 1990, where it was bought by avid Dutch collector Anton Dreesman (1923-2000). Similar plates are in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum (nr.c.426-1926), London and Lady Lever Gallery, Liverpool (nr.LL66 & 67). A slightly later plate with a similar décor, but a different colour palette, is in the Lichnowsky Collection, Prague. The collection The British Museum holds a print of fishermen (nr.1928,0323,0.21).


Titel Caption


James A. Garland (1840-1906)


- xxx




Early Chinese Art Collecting in America In the second half of the 19th century, the United States – especially on the east coast - had a surprising number of Chinese art collectors. In the early years, these specialist collections, generally comprised Chinese and Japanese porcelains and works of art such as jades. Pieces were acquired from dealers, auction houses or when travelling to Europe and Asia. Wellknown and documented early American collections include those of Samuel Avery (dealer/collector), William Walters (industrialist), Mary Jane Morgan (socialite), Charles Dana (publisher), William Laffan (scholar), James Garland (banker), George Warren (businessman), Benjamin Altman (owner department store), Peter Widener (industrialist), Marsden Perry (financier) and John Pierpont Morgan (financier). Apart from admiring the beauty of the objects, these enthusiasts were often interested in the scholarly aspects of their collecting field; some even published in privately printed illustrated catalogues. As with a lot of privately collected art in America, many pieces went on to be incorporated into major museum collections such as The Metropolitan Museum (New York), and the Walters Museum (Baltimore).

James A. Garland was a prominent New Yorker, the Vice-President of the First National Bank of New York and an organiser and builder of the Northern Pacific Railroad. As J.P. Morgan, he was a client of Duveen Brothers and a serious collector of tapestries, oriental jades and especially Chinese porcelain.


Getz 1895 Davids & Jellinek 2011 St.Clair 2016, p.134-136

The James A. Garland collection of Chinese porcelain, was one of the largest and comprehensive in the United States. It comprised over a thousand Kangxi period blue and white and coloured porcelains. The collection was on loan to the Metropolitan Museum until his death in 1902, after which it was sold to the Duveen brothers for $500,000, who went on to sell it to J.P. Morgan.

james a. garland | photograph c.1899 of a portrait by william ouless | Š national portrait gallery, london


3 | Lotus & Dragon Bowl China, Kangxi Period (1662-1722) Reign mark of the period H: 9,7cm Ø: 20,5cm

A ‘palace bowl’ (wan) with a lightly flaring rim, decorated in underglaze blue and copper red. The outside has a wide band with three pairs of stylized scrolling dragons – tails entwined - amongst foliage, with spikey lotus flowers in a copper red. The inside cavetto is decorated with a band of scrolling branches with three pairs of lotus flowers on stems; the bottom of the bowl has a round medallion with two similar blooms amongst trailing fronds. The foot rim has a double blue line, on the underside is a sixcharacter Kangxi mark of the period in a double blue ring.


Mr. R.P. Cleveringa Collection, The Netherlands, 1950’s With Vanderven & Vanderven 1980 Collection Bomers – Marres, The Netherlands, 2017 With Lameris, Amsterdam, 2018 literature

Amsterdam 1954, p.60 nr.289 Pierson 2004, p.15 & nr.B699 exhibited

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, Oosterse Schatten: 4000 jaar Aziatische Kunst, 1954, nr.289 (label)


The use of copper red in combination with underglaze cobalt blue, was first used in the Ming Dynasty. It continued to be used for decorative effect in the Kangxi period, with new interpretations of earlier decorative motifs, such as on this bowl. One of the labels on the underside tells us this bowl was exhibited in the Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam) in 1954. We were able to find this bowl in the catalogue of this exhibition (nr.289), the entry reveals the bowl was on loan from Mr. R.P. Cleveringa, Weesp. The exhibition was organized by the Dutch Asian Art Society (Vereniging Vrienden der Aziatische Kunst), including loans from museums as well as private collectors and dealers. Cleveringa had three loans in this exhibition. The Dutch Asian Art Society was founded in 1918 by a group of enthusiasts. Over the years it has built up its own internationally acclaimed collection, which is on view to the public in the Rijksmuseum. The earliest Oriental society appears to be the French one (Société Française d’Etude de la Céramique Orientale) founded in 1901. Later similar societies would be set up in other countries, such as England in 1923 (Oriental Ceramics Society) and Sweden 1933 (Kinnaklubben). They are all still active, promoting and studying Asian Art & Ceramics.


4 | Dresden Bottles China, Kangxi period (1662-1722) H:25 cm

A pair of underglaze blue and café au lait triple gourd (huluping) bottle vases. The neck and first bulb are covered in a brown glaze, the lower two bulbs are decorated in underglaze blue each separated by a white band. The middle section is decorated in reserve with scrolling flowers and leaves. The largest lower bulb, is decorated with a wide band of the so-called ‘Hundred Antiques’, symbolizing abundance of riches. Above and beneath are bands of alternating large and small plantain leaves. The underside has various collection labels, as well as the engraved and blackened inventory number N:319 of the Augustus the Strong porcelain collection in Dresden. The number is underscored by a wavy line – signifying it was categorized as blue and white East Indian porcelain. provenance

Augustus the Strong Collection, Dresden (engraved mark N:319) Lepke’s Auction House, Berlin 1919 (lot 360) With Bluett’s & Sons, London (Label nr.10) With Hans Öström, Sweden (label nr.852) literature

Jörg & van Campen 1997, pl.140 Ströber 2001 Welch, 2008, p.235 published

Porzellan und Waffen: aus den KGL Sächsischen Staatssammlungen in Dresden Rudolph Lepke’s Kunst-Auktions-Haus Berlin, sale nr.1835, 1919, lot 360 & 361 pl.31


The ‘Hundred Antiques’ or ‘Many Ancient Things’ (bai gu), is a collection of emblematic forms that include any combination of ancient and revered objects; such as items from the Four Scholarly Pursuits, Seven Buddhist Treasures, Daoist symbols and Eight Precious Things. They can include all types of three-dimensional decorative arts, which are usually rebuses for auspicious wishes as well. Any large number of these objects is referred to as Hundred Antiques, regardless whether there are actually 100 or not. The number 100 should be interpreted as ‘many’, in a similar vein 1,000 or 10,000 should be read as countless or unlimited. These vases bear some interesting labels, but the earliest markings are the inventory number from Augustus the Strong (r.1696–1733) in Dresden. They were sold at the renowned Lepke’s auction in 1919 and are depicted in that catalogue; similar vases are still in the collection in Dresden. The Lady Lever collection (Liverpool), has comparable vases but without the inventory marks.




Titel Caption



Augustus the Strong (1670–1733)

- xxx literature


As Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, Augustus II was a fabulously wealthy ruler and a major patron of the arts. He was particularly partial to Oriental porcelains, of which by 1719 he had already amassed 19,000 pieces; the collection increased to a massive 23,000 recorded items by 1721 and 35,000 by 1735. Because of his megalomaniacal buying, Augustus was said to suffer from the maladie de porcelaine – The Porcelain Sickness. augustus ii the strong | nicolas de largillierre c.1715 | nelson-atkins museum of art, kansas


The fabulous Dresden Porcelain Collection Augustus deployed agents across Germany and Europe to buy whatever they could lay their hands on – the bigger the items the better. The renowned fair in Leipzig was a good place for acquisition, as well as the trading ports where the goods arrived directly from the Far East. Amsterdam was a particularly rich sourcing ground, as here the newly made Chinese and Japanese porcelain was auctioned off directly by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) or sold by the private traders. The Netherlands also had a good number of dealers trading in older wares. There are also records of purchases from a Dutch female dealer living in Germany - Elisabeth de Bassetouche - who was at one point the court’s number one supplier of East Asian porcelain. What makes the collection in Dresden particularly interesting – apart from its immense size - are surviving 18th century written inventories. The first was undertaken in 1721-1729, each item in the collection was recorded and numbered – usually by etching the cyphers into the glaze. Occasionally numbers were drawn in ink over the glaze, and have now sometimes worn off. The inventories originally spanned over 1,000 pages, with the ceramics collection divided into ten chapters, six dealing with East Asian porcelain. A second and third inventory list of the porcelain were made in 1735 and 1770-1779. After the death of Augustus the Strong in 1733, the porcelain

was packed away in the cellars of the unfinished Japanese Palace – which was being refurbished and enlarged especially to house the massive Oriental together with the Meissen collection.


Simonis 2018 Ströber 2001

Currently only around 8,000 pieces are still in the Dresden collection, the other pieces dispersed or lost over the years. A significant amount was sold during the famous auctions at Lepke’s in Berlin in 1919 & 1920; the collection director at that time wanted to sell the multiples to generate funds to fill in the perceived gaps in the collection. During the war the, collection was held safely in the mines around Dresden and later removed and taken away by the Russians – largely to be returned again in the East German communist era. After the German reunification, some pieces of porcelain were also restituted in a larger settlement with the previously exiled Prince & Princess von Sachsen (Wettin) from Mortizburg Castle. The collection is a very important bench mark for dating Chinese porcelains, as all the pieces in the first inventory were made in 1719 or earlier. There is currently a very important project underway, involving a panel of over 30 international experts, to photograph and publish this extraordinary resource. The project should be finalized in the course of 2019.


5 | Flower Bowl China, Yongzheng Period (1723-1735) H: 10,5 cm Ø: 25 cm

A large bowl, sparingly decorated with branches and flowers in early famille rose enamels. The interior has two branches of peonies with leaves, several branches of magnolia flowers and two single plum blossoms. The exterior has leafy branches of bright pink peonies on one side and white plum blossom branches on the other. The enamels colours are in various shades of white, pink, violet, yellow and green. The underside of the bowl bears the distinctive engraved inventory number N:161 I, from the collection inventory of Augustus the Strong, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony (1670 – 1733). The symbol ‘I’ denotes the category ‘Green Chinese porcelain’ under which both the famille verte and rose porcelains were classified. Several inventories of the Dresden collection were made, the first during the lifetime of Augusts the Strong started in 1721, another after his death in 1735 and again in 1779. The first five volumes of the 1779 inventory reproduced the information garnered in the first list, noting any changes to the collection. This bowl’s inventory number is noted in the 1779 inventory (vol.4, p.37), but was acquired for the collection circa 1727, as new porcelain.


The bowl is decorated in fine famille rose enamels, which were developed in the 1720’s. The Chinese love flowers and more species of flowers grow in China than any other area on earth. The development of this array of new colours in the early 18th century, made it possible to give expression to this taste and ensures a large production of floral and other natural scenes.

Crosby Forbes 1982, p.18 Kerr 2000 Pinto de Matos 2011, p.358-9 nr.166 Reichel 1993, p.33 pl.8

The Porzellansammlung in Dresden still has two identical bowls (Inv. nr. P.O.. 6183 / N:161 I & P.O. 6184/N:161 I).


Augustus the Strong Collection, Dresden (engraved mark N:161 I) with Vanderven & Vanderven, 2003



6 | Powder Blue Dishes China, Kangxi period (1662-1722), c. 1700 Ø: 41 cm

These powder blue dishes, with large scalloped reserve panels, are decorated with riverscapes in famille verte enamels. On the banks of the waterside, are various pavilions between the rocks and trees. In the foreground is a bridge and a small boat floats in the water. The scene is nocturnal, which you can tell by the golden moon in the sky also reflected in the water. In one of the plates a meditating man in a pavilion suggests the tranquillity of the scene; whilst a group of flying wild geese and colourful swimming fish add to the idyllic setting. Surrounding the central panel, the powder blue ground is embellished with gilded lotus and vine patterns. The rim has white reserves, alternating with painted gold cartouches, both with floral sprays. Similar plates can be found in the Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam) and the Topkapi Saray Museum (Istanbul).


Robert Hoe Collection, New York (Label) J.T. Tai Collection, USA, 2011 Private Collection, The Netherlands, 2012 literature

St. Clair 2016, p.153-154 Jörg & van Campen 1997, pl.158 Jörg 2011, pl.101 & 102 Krahl & Ayers 1986, nr.3248 & 3249


The reverse of the dishes have various labels, which are helpful for tracing the history of ownership. Under one of the rims, is a white oval label with ‘Hoe’ written in black ink, beside it a printed date label – ‘K’ang-Hsi Period 1662-1722’. ‘Hoe’ no doubt refers to the collection of business man and one of the Metropolitan Museum founders, Robert Hoe III (1839-1909). A large part of his famous and diverse collection was sold after his death in a large New York sale in 1911. His son Arthur sold another part in 1915. Later these dishes were in the J.T. Tai collection, a renowned and influential dealer based in New York from 1950-1996. Both plates have an unidentified oval label inscribed in black ink ‘CT79’. published:

Kangxi Porcelain & Coromandel Lacquer, Vanderven Oriental Art, 2013, nr. 12


7 | Nut Pyramid China, Kangxi period (1662-1722) H: 24 cm Ă˜: 16 cm

An unusually large enamel on biscuit (sousancai) walnut pyramid, with naturalistically moulded nuts in a fluted dish. The coloured enamelling is in a limited palate of ochre yellow, green and brown glazes. The nuts are arranged in eight layers, with abundant green leaves in between. The fluted under-dish, has a green rim and is brown on the side. To construct this piece, each nut would have been individually moulded, then arranged layer by layer and joined with slip; the veined leaves were added last before the first firing. Coloured glazes would then be added onto the fired biscuit, after which it was fired again at a lower temperature.


With L. Michon (Label) Private Collection, France, 2018 literature

Ayers 2004, pl.116 Beurdeley & Raindre, pl.122 Pinto de Matos, 2011, pl.153 & 154 Sargent, 1991, pl.9


Such porcelain models, derive from the Chinese tradition of piling offerings of various sweetmeats on the household or temple altar; either for ancestor worship or in the tomb for the afterlife. Artificial fruit dishes such as these were sometimes used as an alternative to fresh fruit. These exotic looking forms were exported to the West as luxurious curiosities in the 18th century. The earliest recorded example in Europe of such a pyramid, was a small sketch made in a French auction catalogue in 1769. The underside of the pyramid has a label L. Michon, 156 bd. Haussmann, Paris. He appears to have been dealing in Paris in the 1930’s, attested by various advertisements we have found in journals and exhibition catalogues of that period. We find one further reference that he had previously been trading at 29 rue des Pyramides. Before the second world war, Paris had been an active centre for the Chinese art trade, including prominent dealers such as the famous CT Loo, Maison Bing and L. Wannieck.


8 | Beehive Water Pot China, late Kangxi Period (1662-1722), c.1720 H: 7,8 cm Ø: 9,2 cm With a fitted wooden stand (label J.K)

An apple-green (pingguo jung) glazed water pot in an elegant beehive shape, with a slightly everted footrim and mouth. The opening is wide with a narrow white rim. The underside has a thin crackled transparent glaze and the interior is left unglazed. The bright even-textured green colour, was obtained by adding copper oxide to a lead glaze over a transparent high-fired glaze. On the bottom is a small rectangular label inscribed in black with ‘J.K.8.’ The wooden stand has a faux-bamboo foot and a label with the initials ‘J.K.’. This object would have been intented for use on the Chinese scholar’s desk, as a water container for washing brushes or diluting the ink cakes. The shape is known as a beehive form taibo zun, but is also referred to as a qizhao zun (chicken coop) as its shape also resembles the bamboo cages used to transport chickens to the market. These vessels were often produced in a mottled red glazed known as ‘peach-bloom’; other colours - such as this vibrant green - appear to be used more rarely. provenance

James Keiller (1867-1962) Collection, Sweden (label J.K. nr.8) literature

Kerr 1990, p.75 fig.53 & p.88 London 2009, nr.237 Pei 1997, p.136 fig.137 Rinaldi 1993, p.63-64 Wästfelt, Gyllensvärd & Weinbull 1990


James Keiller (1836-1918) was Swedish engineer and a member of a distinguished Gothenburg family of Scottish descent. He and his Scottish born wife Alice, were both avid collectors of Chinese porcelain. They travelled often, even visiting China on several occasions, acquiring Chinese ceramics along the way. Their collection eventually comprised a staggering 2500 pieces. James Keiller is especially renowned for his efforts in recovering the sunken wreck of Swedish East Indiaman Gothenburg, which sunk fully laden in Gothenburg harbour in 1745. Under his patronage 4360 pieces of Chinese porcelain were salvaged between 1905-1909.


9 | Cups & Saucers China, Yongzheng Period (1723-1735) Cup H: 4 cm Saucer Ø: 11,5 cm A pair of very finely enamelled porcelain cups and saucers with foliate edges, moulded with petal-shaped panels. They are delicately decorated with overglaze enamels in the famille rose palette, each shaped panel outlined in underglaze blue and gold. The six central panels, decorated with flower sprays on a white ground, radiate out from a central medallion with a finger citrus in gold. The outer border panels have alternating light blue and lime green chain diaper, with either a single peony or plum blossom. The undersides are undecorated, but have a plethora of labels from various owners, dealers and an exhibition.


Alfred Trapnell Collection, England, 1894 Cumberbatch Collection with F. Dickinson, London 1918 (label nr.333) Martin Hurst Collection, USA (label nr.1050) With Spink & Son, London (label) With Vanderven & Vanderven, 2000 Private Collection, The Netherlands, 2018

This seemingly fairly ordinary porcelain, truly comes alive when we start studying its history. The earliest owner we can trace, is Alfred Trapnell. This English industrialist, who had been a sea captain to the East, amassed a comprehensive collection of Chinese porcelain in the late 19th century. He sold it to London dealer Edgar Gorer in 1906, who published a special limited edition illustrated catalogue for the occasion. The next owner appears to be eminent London physician, Alphonso Cumberbatch. Having probably acquired them from Mr. Gorer, the cups and saucers were subsequently published in Gorer’s seminal publication Chinese Porcelain & Hard Stones in 1911. They also went on loan for an exhibition in Manchester in 1913. 480 pieces of the large Cumberbatch collection were dispersed by dealer Frank Dickinson in 1918, another part sold at Christie’s in 1929. William Martin-Hurst, was the following owner. He was thought to have one of the largest collections of eggshell porcelains in Britain and he collaborated with George Williamson on his famous book on famille rose porcelain. His collection was sold at Sotheby’s in three batches 1942-43. The final label is one from famous dealer Spink’s in London. The Victoria & Albert Museum (London) has an identical cup and saucer from Salting collection (


Crosby Forbes 1982, p.12&18 Davids & Jellinek 2011 Gorer & Blacker 1911, pl. 228, nr.2 Manchester 1913, nr.163 Trapnell 1901, p.19, nr.116.



Manchester City Art Gallery 1913, nr.163 (label) published

E.Gorer & J.F Blacker, Chinese Porcelain & Hard Stones; London, 1911, pl.228 nr.2


10 | Trembleuse China, Qianlong period (1736-1795) H: 5,5 cm Ø: 18,3 cm This sturdily potted trembleuse, is densely decorated in thick famille rose (fencai) enamels on the biscuit. The design around the central cup is of a cockerel standing on rockwork amongst peonies. On the inside of the cup is a bowl with peonies and a diaper border. The wide saucer has a six-lobed panel, filled with flowers and foliage on a turquoise diaper ground. It is surrounded by flowers on a white ground. The broad upstanding rim has two decorative bands – one pink with geometric design, the other a turquoise diaper border with blue reserves. The thinly glazed underside, has a flower pattern in black – this is possibly the outline for enameling which was never executed. These wide-rimmed cup-holders, are known as a Tasse Trembleuse or Mancerina, designed for people suffering from the trembles. The low cup in the centre of the plate, forms a holder in which a drinking cup could firmly rest, preventing it sliding off the saucer and avert the spilling of hot liquid.


Purchased from Vanderven & Vanderven, 1985 (invoice) Mrs. H. de Gruyter – Vehmeijer Collection, The Netherlands, 1985 Mr. P. de Gruyter Collection, Belgium, 2016


The earliest known saucer of this shape, was of pottery and known as a Mancerina. It is said to have been conceived by a Spanish grandee in Mexico: Pedro de Toledo, Marquis of Mancera. He reputedly developed it, after an elderly guest spilled her drink, because the traditional chocolate cups were difficult to handle. The other theory is, that the Marquis himself was afflicted with palsy, and developed the mancerina to enable him to enjoy his drinking chocolate without spillage.


This shape later became popular in France, where it is known as a trembleuse. They were mostly produced in Europe, most famously by the manufactory at Saint Cloud (France), Chelsea (England) and Meissen (Germany). More rarely they were ordered as export ware from China, and brought to Europe as a luxury item.

McClure Mudge 1986, p.52 & 53, fig.59 & 60 Sargent 2012, p.237-238

This trembleuse was bought from Vanderven at the Delft Antique Fair in 1985.



stand vanderven & vanderven oriental art, the grosvenor house antiques fair, 1993

Fair’s Fare For the art collector and enthusiast, an antiques fair is a fantastic hunting ground. Uniting a large group of dealers in one place, it provides the visitor with ample opportunity to look and compare. Most high-end fairs are vetted by a team of experts, this also makes them an excellent place to buy, even for the most inexperienced art enthusiast. Fairs are now so much part of the art scene, it feels as if they have been around forever. It is hard to imagine that they are a phenomenon which was only introduced in the 1930’s, initially created as a commercial platform for the antique trade associations.


Antique Trade Associations In the early 20th century, Amsterdam was a hub for art and antiques. The city had many high quality dealers, so buyers flocked there looking for excellent antiques. As a reaction to this flourishing of trade, The Dutch Antique Dealers Association (VHOK) was founded in 1911 by a group of high-end Dutch dealers – in part to act as a counterweight to the malpractice of small time dealers and frauds. The VHOK had three main goals: to lobby for the interests of dealers, to encourage good collegial relations and lastly to prevent fraudulent practice and positively promote the field of art and antiques. The British Antique Dealers Association (BADA), with similar goals, was founded seven years later in 1918. Both associations had a strict selection procedure, aiming to form a platform which stood for high quality and reliability. They were also concerned with promoting art and antiques to the wider public. To this end both associations set up antiques fairs, creating an accessible platform to encourage trade. The Grosvenor House Antiques Fair 1934-2009 The Grosvenor House fair, appears to be the earliest established quality fair, first taking place in 1934. It was initiated by BADA to beat the business doldrums of the great depression. The use of the term ‘fair’ was hotly debated amongst the BADA members, afraid the event might be associated with fun fairs and raucous irresponsibility - not the genteel and sophisticated business of art buying. However, the term has stuck - with success! Not in the least because the first fair patron was Queen Mary – who herself was an avid collector and never skipped an edition. This royal patronage gave the fair the right image and cachet it needed to succeed, becoming an

unmissable London social event, as well as an enjoyable and appropriate way to acquire quality art & antiques. Initially it was only for open to English BADA dealers, but in 1990 international dealers were also allowed to participated, Vanderven Oriental Art first exhibited there in 1991. This grand dame of fairs, was held for 75 consecutive years until 2009, after which the venue became too expensive and impractical to host a modern fair. Oude Kunst- en Antiekbeurs Delft 1949-1992 The Dutch fair was started in 1949 for members of the Dutch Trade association, in the aftermath of the second world war. The Jewish art community had suffered great losses and the country was being rebuilt in the wake of the German occupation. The antique trade needed new life blown into it and dealers returning from the war had to revive their businesses. The Delft fair was an instant success and highly acclaimed nationally and internationally. It was strictly vetted, with an early dateline to which they adhered stringently. In 1969, the year after Vanderven was founded, they also started participating in the fair. However, in the 1980’s, the call from dealers for less rigid rules and regulations, became increasingly loud. Particularly around the subject of admitting contemporary and modern art to the fair, seems to be a point of contention. Eventually six dealers, including Vanderven, left Delft to start their own event in a modern exhibition space - this became PAN Amsterdam. Sadly this defection, lead in part to the demise of the Delft fair. The last edition of the fair took place in 1992 and many of Delft’s participants joined PAN Amsterdam. Both the Delft and Grosvenor House fairs have now become part of history, but were absolutely key to the development as to how dealers now operate in the current

stand vanderven & vanderven, oude kunst- en antiekbeurs delft, 1976

art market. Until a new trade platform comes along, art fairs will continue to play an important role. When a client buys at a fair, it places that object in a certain place and time. The issued invoices and certificates, often record the event and date at which the art was purchased. We are lucky to regularly have the opportunity to re-sell an object; when it also comes with the original invoice, it gives us a great deal of additional information about the piece. We therefore highly recommend saving any documentation that is issued with your art work, and so help to build its provenance for future generations.


11 | Lokapala China, Tang Dynasty (618-907) H: 63 cm TL Tested by Oxford Authentication Ltd.

A pottery tomb guardian known as a Lokapala (Tianwang or Heavenly King), modelled in the extravagant high-tang style. He is dressed in full body armour, elaborately detailed with dragon-mouth sleeves; on his head he wears an ornate cap with a high-tailed pheasant. He stands on a high plinth, holding down a rather sulky looking evil spirit with his right foot. There are traces of the original bright coloured pigments. The ostentatious hat (heguan) in the shape of a bird – was also worn by highranking Tang military officials. This fowl, a particular species of combative pheasant, had been adopted by the Tang army as its emblem and symbol of courage. Because the Heavenly Kings were fearless warriors, this particular head-dress was considered the appropriate accessory to accompany the full combat armour. provenance

with Vanderven & Vanderven, 1997 Private Collection, The Netherlands, 2014

(invoice) literature

Bower 2002, p.139 Cao Yin 2016, nr.89 & 90 & p.147 Huo 2008, pl.33 a & b Juliano 1988, nr.60 & appendix 60 Lefebvre d’Argencé 1974, p.202 nr.99 Rastelli 2008, pl.65 & p.287 Shangraw 1993, nr 113


Such guardians, often in pairs, were placed near the entrance of the burial chamber to protect the deceased and the treasures from evil spirits. They derive from the Buddhist Lokapãla, and have typical Middle Eastern facial features, such as a moustache and big round eyes. These elements were considered the perfect scary combination to frighten off evil spirits and thus protect the deceased. A similar figure was excavated near Xian (Shaanxi Province) from the tomb of Wu Shouzhong (748 AD). This figure was purchased from Vanderven & Vanderven at the Grosvenor House Antiques fair, London in 1997.


12 | Marble Torso China, Northern Qi Period (549-577) H: 53,5cm

This white marble torso of a standing Buddhist figure, is a beautiful example of the fine and sensitive carvings of the Northern Qi period. Rendered in low relief, the u-shaped folds of the robes fall down in soft swaths. Traces of red pigment on the reverse indicate it may once have been brightly polychromed. The cylindrical form and simply carved surface, are typical of the Northern Qi period and the use of marble, could indicate this was made in the Hebei area. The choice for this more costly material, as opposed to the more frequently uses limestone, indicates this is likely a sculpture of Buddha.


With Zen Gallery, Brussels, 2004 Van Milders Collection, Belgium, 2017 literature

Cologne 2009, p.108, nr.20 London 2002, p.54-59 & nr.14 Paludan 2006, p.237-238 SirĂŠn 1925 (ed. 1998), p.61 & pl. 263-A Veen 2017, p.124, nr.10

Buddhism originated in Nepal in the 6th century BC and entered China through travelling monks during the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD). Their teachings and imagery were gradually assimilated into Chinese art and culture, producing its own distinctive practices and philosophies. The rise of the Buddhism, also saw the emergence and development of religious sculpture for ever growing number of places for worship. The Northern Qi rulers (549-577), were particularly devout Buddhists and through their Turkic neighbours, there was an increased artistic influence from India and Persia. The sculpture from this period is unsurpassed for the treatment of the garments. In earlier Buddhist sculpture, the attire was inspired by more rigid Chinese officials’ robes. This now made way for a more simple Indian inspired garment, with thin long-sleeved robes, which fitted the body more closely. This torso comes from the collection of renowned Belgian entrepreneur Jean van Milders. He and his wife were avid collectors, of modern and Chinese art, often buying at fairs such as TEFAF Maastricht.



13 | Jade Vase China, Qianlong period (1736-1795) H: 28,8 cm

An elegant jade vase, with a flattened baluster shape, carved on both sides in low relief with prunus blossom trees amongst rocks. The oblong cover, with a stepped finial, also has small prunus branches. There are two archaistic handles with pendant rings on either side of the waisted neck. The front and back of the vase have taotie masks with rings carved in relief. It stands on a low foot with an engraved key-fret border. The jade is a pale green with lighter dappling and russet inclusions – which are used cleverly to enhance to composition.


Lord Hollenden Collection, UK With John Sparks Ltd., London Thompson Schwab Collection, UK (label JDDT-TS No.33) literature

Ayers 2016, p.754-755 nr.1783 Jiu-Fang 1997, p.34, nr.17 Paris 2017 p.157, cat.133


In China, the Prunus mume or plum blossom (meihua) is associated with winter and is the flower of the month January. The welcoming sight of these flowering trees in late winter, signalling spring, has made this tree very popular in China and is often depicted on works of art. Together with the bamboo and the pine tree, it forms the Three friends of Winter – which is an often featured motif in Chinese art. Frank Schwab (1891-1961), was a successful London stockbroker who married American heiress Mildred Thompson. They were enthusiastic collectors of art from around the world, including jade carvings. They acquired their jades in the early to mid-20th century, their collection the epitome of classic English taste. Residing in London’s Mayfair neighbourhood, they lived close to many distinguished art dealers and galleries. They purchased from dealers such as John Sparks who, along with Bluett’s and Spink & Son, were among the longest established and most respected Asian dealers in the world.


14 | Blossom Trees China, second half 19th century H: 28 cm

A pair of large Blanc de Chine blossom trees. Each comprising two intertwined trunks, with crowns of large and small branches adorned with blossom in various stages of bloom - buds as well as flowers. Each tree has two plump birds perched amongst its branches. The realistically modelled trunks end in big gnarly roots. They have the original fitted wooden stands.


Mrs. Willard Velie, USA Purchased in Beijing c.1900

These trees represent prunus or plum blossom trees (meihua), which in China are very emblematic and laden with symbolic meaning. They are greatly admired for their beauty, which is why their blooms are considered ‘the first amongst flowers’ and a very popular subject matter for art and poetry. As the flowers always emerge before the leaves, it’s blossoming heralds spring and is therefore the representation of winter. Being so hardy, this tree also represents hope and endurance during hardship. The five flower petals, embody the many ‘fives’ in Chinese imagery - including the five gods of prosperity; five good fortunes; five good luck gods etc. In modern China the meihua is also the National Flower, its petals representing the five Chinese peoples: Han, Manchu, Mongol, Mohammedan and Tibetan.


Boulay 1984, p.182, pl.3 Donnelly 1969, p.126 Liu 2007, pl.85 Scagliola 2012, p.312, pl.397 Welch 2008, p.38-39

Willard Lamb Velie (1866–1928), was a grandson of John Deere and came from Moline, Illinois. He was founder of the Velie Motor Company, where they developed advanced engines for tractors, cars and airplanes. His very successful company first manufactured tractors, then cars from 1909 - 1928, and also the Velie Monocoupe aircraft from 1927-1929. He and his wife Annie (1866-1961) bought these trees on a trip to Beijing c.1900. The Laura Collection, Turin, holds similar trees, as does the The British Museum, London (nr. 1980,0728.198)



Chinese captions

1 | Triple Gourd Vase


5 | Flower Bowl

三疊葫蘆瓶 中國清代康熙年間(1662-1722) 高度:102釐米

花卉碗 中國清代雍正年間(1723-1735) 高度:10.5釐米 | 直徑:25釐米

2 | Fishermen plate

6 | Powder Blue Dishes

漁父圖盤 中國清代雍正年間(1723-1735) 約1730年 | 直徑:21.2釐米

粉藍碟一對 中國清代康熙年間(1662-1722) 直徑:41釐米

3 | Lotus & Dragon Bowl

7 | Nut Pyramid

蓮花龍紋碗 中國清代康熙年間(1662-1722) 直徑:20.5釐米

果塔 中國清代康熙年間(1662-1722) 高度:24釐米

4 | Dresden Bottles

8 | Beehive Water Pot

德萊斯頓瓶一對 中國清代康熙年間(1662-1722) 高度:25釐米

太白尊水盂 中國清代康熙年間(1662-1722) 高度:7.8釐米 | 直徑:9.2釐米

9 | Cups & Saucers

13 | Jade Vase

薄瓷杯碟一對 中國清代雍正年間(1723-1735) 直徑:11.5釐米

玉瓶 中國清代乾隆年間(1736-1795) 高度:29.2釐米

10 | Trembleuse

14 | Blossom Trees

熱飲杯碟套件 中國清代乾隆年間(1736-1795) 直徑:18.3釐米

富貴花開樹一對 中國19世紀後半葉 高度:28釐米

11 | Lokapala 天王像 中國唐代(618-907) 高度:63釐米

12 | Marble Torso 大理石像 中國北齊年間(549-577) 高度:53.5釐米


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Davids & Jellinek 2011 Roy Davids & Dominic Jellinek, Provenance: Collectors, Dealers & Scholars: Chinese Ceramics in Britain & America, England, 2011 Donnelly 1969 P.J. Donnelly, Blanc de Chine, New York 1969 Duveen 1935 James Henry Duveen, Collections & Recollections: A Century and a Half of Art Deals, London 1935 Getz 1895 John Getz, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Hand-Book of a Collection of Chinese Porcelains Loaned by James A. Garland, New York, 1895

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Suchomel 2015 Filip Suchomel, 300 Treasures: Chinese Porcelain in the Wallenstein, Schwarzenberg & Lichnowesky Family Collection, Prague, 2015 Trapnell 1901 Chinese Pottery and Porcelain, Forming the Collection of Mr. Alfred Trapnell. Bristol (privately printed), 1901 Valenstein 1989 Suzanne Valenstein, A Handbook of Chinese Ceramics, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1989. Veen 2017 Saskia van Veen, Treasures of Stone Uncovered, Antwerp, 2017 Wästfelt, Gyllensvärd & Weinbull 1990 Berit Wästfelt, Bo Gyllensvärd & Jörgen Weinbull, Porcelain from the East Indiaman Göthenburg, Denmark, 1990 Welch 2008 Patricia Welch, Chinese Art: A Guide to Motifs and Visual Imagery, North Clarendon, 2008 Williamson 1970 George C. Williamson, The Book of Famille Rose, Rutland/Tokyo, 1970 Zimmerman 1923 Ernst. Zimmerman, Chinesische Porzellan und die übringen Keramischen Erzeugnusse Chinas, Leipzig 1923, Vol I & II



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