Mallams’ Cheltenham saleroom was buzzing with excitement yesterday, when highly competitive bidding saw one lot achieve £118,000, with the winning bid coming from an overseas phone bidder.
Lot 297 was a heavy, bronze ‘Dragon’ censer and cover, dating from 18th century China and its interesting provenance was undoubtedly what contributed to the huge interest in this item. The censer had a large dent in the side and, although the vendor's family have no idea how this happened, there is some (uncorroborated) talk that it may have been from a bullet.
It came to Mallams from a Herefordshire vendor whose family had lived, circa 1930, at the house known as Hazelwood - a large classical property in Shanghai (now on the site of the Radisson Xingguo Hotel) designed by Clough Williams-Ellis. Mao Tse Tung is known to have used and stayed at the property, and the fact that this lot was sold together with catalogue images and some old images showing the item in situ, only added to its allure.
Mallams is now accepting entries for its 2023 Asian Art Sales. If you would like an informal valuation please contact Robin Fisher at email@example.com