He joined Christie’s as a teenager in 1949 and went on to hold a number of senior management positions in the company before retiring in 1980.
A sale of du Boulay’s private collection of Chinese ceramics was held by Bonhams in 2003 and in 2019 Duke’s sold his study collection.
The Duke’s (25% buyer’s premium) auction on March 8 presented a further opportunity to purchase pieces with the du Boulay provenance when it sold the private collection of the late Anthony and Judith du Boulay (1933-2022) from their Dorset home.
The 260 lots offered in Dorchester, also Dorset, featured furniture, paintings, silver, Chinese works of art and decorative objects and opened with around 100 lots of European ceramics with selections from the main 18th century English factories; French porcelain, pieces from Meissen and other German firms and a small group of works from Italy and other continental factories.
Early from St Cloud
Topping the du Boulay ceramic list at £17,500 was a rare piece of early French porcelain: a 6in (15.5cm) high ovoid vase in soft paste porcelain from the relatively short-lived St Cloud factory.
Dated to c.1695-1700, this was a piece from the early years of production when underglaze blue prevailed.
The ribbed form was decorated in underglaze blue with panels of the then fashionable Berainesque decoration featuring strapwork and lambrequins. It came with a provenance to the Paris dealer Bernard Dragesco from 2010.
Making much more than the £200-400 estimate at £2000 was another French piece: a 5¼in (13.5cm) late 18th century Sèvres teapot with interlaced LL and date marks for 1785.
The sides were painted with oval panels featuring a dragoon leaning against a tree stump and a soldier flirting with a girl.
Meissen understandably dominated the German material but a couple of pieces from the Bavarian Nymphenburg factory proved popular.
These were both rococo figure groups based on designs by the factory’s modeller Franz Anton Bustelli (1723-63) which were richly applied to C scrolls and set against architectural supports.
The first, which had a provenance to a Christie’s New York sale in 1981 and stood 11in (27cm) high, featured two seated lovers, a goat and a dog set against a ruin, was dated to the late 18th century and realised £3400.
The second, 9½in (24cm) high group, shown below, was dated to c.1760, featured a dog and sleeping boy next to a girl playing a xylophone leaning against an obelisk and had been acquired from the specialist ceramics dealer E&H Manners in 2008. It sold for £5500.
Notable among the 20 lots of English porcelain that opened the sale were some examples of Chelsea teawares from c.1750-52 decorated in the Kakiemon taste.
One was an octagonal tea bowl and saucer painted in iron red and gilding with two dragons and precious objects which realised £2200.
The other was a peach-shaped cup with a leaf shaped saucer painted with a ‘Lady in a Pavilion’ pattern, which made £2300.