An incredible two day auction in Salisbury has broken the record for the highest grossing sale at a provincial auction house.
Woolley and Wallis’s Asian Art sale grossed £8.8m, not only breaking the above record but also beating the totals achieved by all three of the big London salerooms for their equivalent sales the previous week. The sale was split into two days – the first containing a collection of Chinese jade and hardstone carvings from Crichel House in North Dorset, which totalled £4.4m. The two top lots came from this collection; an Imperial jade bell which sold for £2.4m and a pair of jade elephants which made £1.2m.
Other highlights included a rhinoceros horn libation cup at £335,000, and a world record price for a Canton enamel stem bowl and cover at £191,000.
It’s the second year running that the Salisbury salerooms have broken records. Last year the Asian Art department sold a Chinese jade water buffalo for £4.16m, which became the highest selling lot at a UK auction outside of London.
Prices for the two day sale far exceeded expectations as bidders from across the Far East, America and Europe competed for lots with a strong private provenance and market freshness. In general their Chinese counterparts defeated most of the Western collectors and buyers, excepting the more determined and those with big pockets.
Head of the Asian Art department, John Axford, was delighted with the sale. “It’s been an incredibly busy two days but we couldn’t be more pleased or proud with the results. This is the second year running that we have sold the top lot in the UK’s Asian Art week, which goes to show that there’s no reason why the provinces can’t compete with the London salerooms. The Chinese trade now know Salisbury as a centre for Asian Art and we want to keep it that way.”