21 July 2019
Asian Art comes to the West Midlands – Fieldings expansion in to the Asian Art market
Here at Fielding’s we see a wealth of beautiful treasures from the Far East, it is it hugely exciting to think of the history of how these exquisite pieces from China and Japan, dating back hundreds of years make their way to our clients and eventually our Stourbridge saleroom. We have had some exciting finds over the years including a Qianlong Period (1736-95) altar vessel that sold for £56,000, a Chinese 18th Century celadon vase, sold for £38,000.
The Asian Art department is run by Rachel Holland who comes with over 15 years experience in the Arts and Heritage sector. After completing an undergraduate and postgraduate degree in Fine Art and Fine Art conservation, Rachel Worked for several Museums and galleries, before starting her auction career with Bonhams Auctioneers back in 2006, quickly rising to Asian Art specialist after 2 years. Her passion for Asian Art stems back to early childhood, where her father frequently travelled overseas, bringing back pieces of porcelain and interesting Chinese artefacts. This was the start of a love affair Rachel was to have with the rich history associated with these pieces, and according to her is a very lucky lady to turn her passion in to a job !
Rachel joined the Fieldings team in January 2019 and previous to this working as regional head of fine art and Asian Art specialist for Cheshire based firm Wright Marshall.
Her most exciting finds include a single owner collection of beautiful Chinese jades, porcelains and textiles, which went on to sell in a London saleroom for over £500,000 and a ‘suitcase full of Chinese jades’ that came in on a regular valuation day, and were quite literally thrown on the desk in a suitcase and then which went on to sell for over £250,000.
Rachel says ‘You just never know what you are gong to see from one day to the next, that is why our job is so exciting, one day I can find a £50,000 vase in a small terraced house that belonged to Aunty Betty, or can be valuing exquisite collections for museums’
The market for Chinese and Japanese works of art really has seen some changes in recent years, with certain sectors getting there turn in the spotlight. However Chinese porcelain really does remain the strongest contender and the one which grabs all the headlines. We all remember the 53 million pound vase sold in a small regional auctioneers in Essex, an object that was just languishing In a hallway being used as an umbrella stand for so many years, an incredible, rare and beautiful object that had just been overlooked for so long, and I am sure now resides in a very different environment.
There has always been an appreciation for Chinese porcelains throughout the Centuries, however the trend and desire for Asian Art started to move to a new level in the early to mid 2000s, this is when you would see millions of pounds being spent in internationally and regional auction houses at the fall of an auctioneer’s gavel.
‘This was the most exciting time, I had just started my career and there was real excitement and apprehension around the sale of Chinese Artwork, every sale was fraught with intense bidding and banks of telephone bidder ’
Mostly the buyers were from mainland China, with their growing wealth came the influx of new buyers, who were trying to pick up a piece of their own heritage and invest their money in beautiful pieces of artwork, as well as buying back their items. That were both removed and also produced for the export market and therefore didn’t have chance to be appreciated in the place they were Made.
The most notable area of the Asian art market that is gaining so much press recently in the sale of ivory. In 2019 there is due to be a total ban on the sale of worked ivory from any date. Where as now It is ivory that has been carved and worked pre-1947. This is going to have a huge impact on the sale of Asian Art works who used elephant and marine ivory extensively in the 19th Century. There will be some slight exceptions to the rule for example, musical instruments must have been made prior to 1975 and must contain less that 20% ivory, portrait miniatures painted on thin slivers of ivory and are at least 100 years old will also be exempt to the ban.
So if you have always wondered what that vase is worth or would like to have a chat with Rachel about your collection, please contact her on or 01384 444 140.