Let’s face it. At some stage during lockdown, we have all hit the point of Marie Kondo-ing the house over lockdown. But not everyone unearthed a Chinese teapot worth £100,000 when spring cleaning the loft.
That’s exactly what happened to a man from Derbyshire. The imperial Beijing-enamelled wine ewer was sat gathering dust, as its owner had no idea of its value.
When the 51-year old rediscovered the item, he decided to take it to an expert at an auction house to find out how much it might be worth. Imagine the man’s reaction when he was told the tiny 15cm pot was actually an incredibly rare imperial Chinese antique of the Qianlong period dating back to 1735 to 1799.
The teapot goes under the hammer this month at Hansons Auctioneers and is estimated to sell for £100,000.
Charles Hanson, Auctioneer owner, explained that ewers and teapots, like this, were extremely fashionable at the time, and this one could well have been handled by Emperor Qianlong.
“This has to be the best lockdown find ever,” Hanson went on to say. “It is such an exciting discovery, an imperial 18th-century wine ewer which could have graced a palace in China and was, perhaps, handled by Emperor Qianlong, considered by some to be the greatest Chinese emperor.”
Two nearly identical teapots with the Qianlon reign marks exist in the National Palace Museum in Taipei, as well as the Palace Museum in Beijing. The emperor’s wine ewer would have been used to serve warm wine during significant ceremonies.
“He [the Emperor] was fascinated by European enamel and the new method of enamel painting and the style was replicated in his imperial workshops,” Hanson continued.
“Emperor Qianlong must have been especially fond of this vessel as a number of them were made, hence the existence of two similar example in important museums in Taiwan and China.”
It is amazing that this teapot ended in Derbyshire, but had it not been for the lockdown, its owner may have given it away to a charity shop, along with a number of other items.
The man commented, that “the teapot has been in my family for as long as I can remember. My mum used to display it in a cabinet.”
“We believe it was brought back to England from China by my grandfather who was stationed in the Far East during the Second World War was awarded a Burma Star medal.”
That is one excuse to give your house a clear out. Click here to read about one man who regretted redecorating.