A damaged Xuande (1426- 35) mark and period bowl with chased strap mounts sold in Washington DC last week was probably among them.
The 5½in (14cm) vessel was among 184 lots from the estate of Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Louise Margolet (1926-2017) sold by Weschlers on September 15. Margolet and her sister had run an antiques shop in Baltimore selling mainly European furniture and works of art.
The bowl is thought to be that sold on May 19-21, 1897 by Christie’s Manson & Woods in London as part of The Choice Collection of Rev. Montague Taylor, Deceased.
Lot 14 in that sale 120 years ago was described as “An old Nankin Bowl, decorated with lotus ornament, finely mounted with Elizabethan silver-gilt foot, rim and hinged bands”.
The price, recorded in ink to a copy of the catalogue owned by the Getty Research Institute, was six guineas, with the buyer noted as ‘C Davies’.
Similar objects, mounted in the manner of natural curiosities such as shells or coconuts, are known in a number of top collections, notably the Trenchard Bowl in the V&A or the group of wares associated with the family of William Cecil, Lord Burghley, in the Metropolitan Museum.
Estimated by Weschlers at a nominal $1000-$1500, this example attracted close to a dozen phone bidders before selling at $40,000 (£30,000) plus 22% premium. Bill Weschler told ATG it had appealed to a range of different types of potential buyer but the winner was a London silver dealer.