Kangxi blue and white jardinière, £97,000 at Sworders.

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The highlight of a Sworders’ (25% buyer’s premium) Asian sale on May 19, it measures almost 2ft (60cm) across, is finely painted with scenes of the Eight Daoist Immortals and has a Kangxi (1662-1720) mark to the rim.

The jardinière was thought to be of the period rather than a later copy.

Similar examples with the same distinctive scrolling feet are in the collection of the Forbidden City in Beijing. Others painted in doucai colours are known.

The vendor’s ancestors had worked as missionaries in China in the late 19th century and some items had been brought back to the UK.

However, this piece may also have been collected more recently by parents who worked for Sotheby’s in the 1950s-60s.

It was used regularly in the family home for its original purpose, as a vessel for growing plants.

At the Stansted Mountfitchet auction it was estimated at a modest £300-500 but sold way above expectations for £97,000 (plus 25% premium) to a buyer in China bidding on the phone.

Exceptional example


Kangxi blue and white basin, £120,000 at Mallams.

Another exceptional example of Kangxi blue and white emerged at Mallams (25% buyer’s premium) in Cheltenham on May 24.

This 15in (38cm) diameter dragon and carp basin painted with a three-clawed dragon rising from the waves above two carp has a six-character Kangxi mark to the base.

It was acquired by missionaries working in China in the 19th century and passed to the Oxfordshire vendors by descent.

A similar basin was sold from the Dr Oliver Impey (1936-2005) collection was sold by Woolley & Wallis in November 2022 for £32,000, despite its smashed condition.

Mallams’ example was in good condition and, estimated at £20,000- 30,000, sold at £120,000.