Qing period embroidered satin throne-back cushion cover – £26,000 at Canterbury Auction Galleries.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

This example above, dated to the 18th century, was offered at Canterbury Auction Galleries (27% buyer’s premium inc VAT) on February 5. Guided at £3000-5000, it took £26,000, selling to an online bidder from China.

The design in coloured silk and gold threads to the imperial yellow ground (now uniformly faded) includes nine dragons and clouds above the terrestrial diagram emerging from rolling waves. In a later mahogany frame measuring 2ft 8in x 3ft 1in (82 x 94cm), it was in decent condition save the loss of some of the gold threadwork. It came for sale from a west Kent vendor whose mother clearly had an eye for fine antiques.

The price was akin to that realised by other throne covers in recent years – the exception being the massive £193,000 bid at Christie’s London in 2011 for a cover centred by a single large dragon clutching a shou character above his head. Dated c.1800, it was described by Christie’s as among the finest examples known.