Chinese teapot worth thousands found gathering dust in Derbyshire loft

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A Derbyshire man has been left amazed after finding out a teapot he was going to throw away is worth £100,000.

The 51-year-old semi-retired manual worker had been having a clear out of his garage and loft when he came across the teapot.

He had boxed it up years ago and was thinking about taking it to the charity shop, but decided to get it looked at by by Hansons Auctioneers, in Etwall, first.

It was there that they found the small 15cm object is actually an imperial Beijing-enamelled wine ewer - a Chinese relic that could be nearly 300-years-old.

The pot, which dates back to between 1735 and 1799 could go for as much as £100,000 when it goes under the hammer at the auctioneers on September 24.

The owner, who remained anonymous, said: “The teapot has been in my family 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 and was awarded a Burma Star medal.

“Mum passed away nearly 20 years ago, then dad nine years ago and the teapot ended up in a loft in Newhall.

"Later it was boxed up and moved to a relative’s garage in Church Gresley. I admit, we’d been thinking of sending everything to a charity shop.

The wine ewer is described as the perfect lockdown find

“But then lockdown came along and I finally had time to go through the boxes in the garage.

"I’d always thought the teapot, which is what I’ve always called it, was special. I spent time looking for information about it on the internet.

"One day I came across a similar item on a famous auction firm’s website and the Chinese writing looked identical.

“Even so, when I took it to Hansons I was still unsure so dug out a few other bits and pieces for them to value in case they laughed at me when I pulled out the teapot.”

Hansons’ valuer Edward Rycroft said his eyes lit up when he first saw it.

“I knew it was special and persuaded the vendor to leave it with us so we could carry out some research," he said.

"We were delighted to tell him later that it could be worth tens of thousands of pounds.”

The 15cm object dates back to the 1700s

Charles Hanson, who owns the auctioneers, said ewers and teapots of this type were fashionable at court during that period and may have been handled by Emperor Qianlong himself.

He added: "This has to be the best lockdown find ever.

"It is such an exciting discovery, an imperial 18th century wine ewer which would have graced a palace in China and was, perhaps, handled by Emperor Qianlong, considered by some to be the greatest Chinese emperor.

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“Two almost identical teapots, both with Qianlong reign marks, exist in the National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan, and the Palace Museum in Beijing, China.

"It’s truly astonishing to find an emperor’s wine ewer in a Derbyshire home, an object used to serve warm wine during important ceremonies.

"He was fascinated by European enamel and the new method of enamel painting and the style was replicated in his imperial workshops.

"During Emperor Qianlong’s reign this art form reached heady heights of perfection with designs reflecting the emperor's extravagant taste.

The item is expected to be highly sought after

“The delicate wine ewer is a fine example of the perfect combination of an elegant shape, lavish colouration and technical perfection.

"Emperor Qianlong must have been especially fond of this vessel as a number of them were made, hence the existence of two similar examples in important museums in Taiwan and China.”

The wine ewer, which has a rectangular form, is brightly decorated on a lemon-yellow ground with colourful blooming peonies in hues of pinks, blues and purples.

It could have ended up being donated to a charity shop along with other items accumulated over the years by a family if it wasn't for lockdown.

The object has been given an estimate of £20,000-£40,000 but such is the demand for imperial works of art from wealthy Chinese buyers, it is expected to fetch much more.

 link source - Derby Telegraph http://i2-prod.derbytelegraph.co.uk/incoming/article4503845.ece/ALTERNATES/s458/1_MLL_TEM_100920ChineseTeapot2.jpg

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