Part of the Bonhams Autumn Auctions Series in Hong Kong, The Gerard Hawthorn Collection of Yixing Stoneware is an impressive, personal collection of a connoisseur dealer, who has passionately collected the finest quality Yixing ceramics, comparable to the rarest pieces in the Palace Museum, Beijing. It is regarded as one of the world’s greatest and most distinguished collection of Yixing Stoneware by a single owner. The only other comparable private collection is the K.S. Lo collection, donated to Hong Kong Museum and now housed in the Flagstaff Tea Museum in Hong Kong Park. The collection consists of 100 lots and is expected to sell for over HK$20,000,000.
The celebrated Yixing stoneware collection is from Mr. and Mrs. Gerard Hawthorn. In 1963, Gerard Hawthorn joined leading London Chinese art dealer Sydney L. Moss Ltd. and later became independent, assisting the world’s leading art collectors and museums in acquiring rare Chinese antiques. Additionally, he formed his own personal collection of bamboo and Yixing stoneware in his own time. In view of the strength of the market, Gerard Hawthorn has taken the decision to offer the Yixing collection for sale this autumn.
From a historical and investment perspective, Yixing stoneware is one of the most valuable collections among all kinds of Chinese antiques. Its uniqueness is not only due to the characteristic of the mud material, but also the artists’ marvelous calligraphy creativities and their life experiences, which enrich the design of Yixing stoneware. For centuries, its natural, variable shapes and ancient elegant colors have been the prized possession many collectors craved for.
Notably, some of the highlighted lots of Yixing stoneware from the Gerard Hawthorn Collection were made by Shi Dabin, Yang Luqian, Hui Mengchen, Chen Mingyuan among others, who were all renowned Yixing stoneware artists of their respective eras. Shi Dabin’s artistry has been regarded by others as incomparable in history while Hui Mengchen was a famous artist during Chongzhen’s period and a well-known figure after Shi. Hui’s artistry has been diverse; his big pieces are more simple and natural, while his small pieces are more delicate and elaborate. Meanwhile, Chen Mingyuan’s work has been highly regarded for its incredible engraving details; he infused Chinese traditional painting and calligraphy skills into the art of ceramic-making, which distinguished his pieces from his generation.
Hong Kong has been a centre for Yixing pottery since the donation of the K.S. Lo Collection to the Flagstaff Museum, established in 1984 in Hong Kong Park as a museum of tea ware. With the auction at the Island Shangri-La, just minutes walk-away, it will be an unprecedented attraction for Yixing collectors.
Other details of highlighted lots from The Gerard Hawthorn Collection as below:
1. Lot 223: An Yixing inscribed and rare ‘hu’ vase Mid Qing dynasty, inscribed mark of Shi Dabin
Estimate: HK$300,000 – 500,000
2. Lot 268: A remarkable, rare ‘prunus trunk’ brush pot, signed Yang Luqian (1736-1820) Qianlong
Estimate: HK$2,000,000 – 3,000,000
3. Lot 230: A rare Yixing stoneware brush washer
Early Qing dynasty, signed Hui Mengchen
Estimate: HK$400,000 – 600,000
4. Lot 226: An Yixing stoneware model of a toad
Early Qing dynasty, signed Chen Mingyuan
Estimate: HK$300,000 – 500,000
5. Lot 242: An Yixing stoneware ‘ear’ water vessel
Early Qing dynasty, with signature of Xiang Zijin
Estimate: HK$100,000 – 150,000