Born in Lisieux, Lepileur ran a dealership first in Normandy and then from the 1950s in Finchley, north London.
He was still buying and selling up until his death in December last year, aged 90.
Lepileur collected bronze artefacts from the Shang to the Han periods – amassing 77 pieces, most of them (according to purchase receipts and other documentation) purchased at London sales or within the trade in the 1960s-’80s.
Accordingly, not everything came with a secure provenance before the 1970 UNESCO convention (an increasingly important date for the international transit of early bronzes), but among the 63 sold lots were two that made six-figure sums.
Improving upon an estimate of £15,000-25,000 to sell at £150,000 (plus 21% buyer’s premium) was a 14in (35cm) ritual wine vessel or zun from the late Shang or early Western Zhou period (12th-10th century BC). Crisply cast in high relief with pairs of kui, dragons and taotie masks, it is similar to others recently sold in New York.
A 9in (23cm) Western Zhou ritual food vessel or ding raised on three flattened bird-shaped legs is a rarer form. Although similar to another in the Shanghai Museum, it has few recent auction precedents.
Estimated at a conservative £8000-12,000, it sold at £190,000.
Sold for £80,000 was a fang ding, a monumental rectangular vessel with four zoomorphic legs made for use in ancestral worship or other sacrificial ceremonies.
The ownership of fang ding appears to have been strictly regulated and most have been found in high-status tombs.
This 10in (25cm) high example from Luoyang has a three-character clan mark to the interior.
Buyers from Japan, Hong Kong, UK, mainland Europe and China competed for the collection, with the principal pieces heading east.