The Helen Espir Collection of European Decorated Oriental Porcelain

The Helen Espir Collection of European Decorated Oriental Porcelain, Woolley and Wallis, Wednesday 12th November 2014 – a separate catalogue will be sold after Asian Art I

Helen Espir at the launch of her book in 2005.  Courtesy of Image 2 Photography

Helen Espir at the launch of her book in 2005. Courtesy of Image 2 Photography

The last time a similar collection came onto the market was in 2003 when the Dr Bernard Watney Collection was sold. This sale provides a great opportunity for collectors to acquire pieces that have been through the decorating workshops of Holland, Germany and England. The ceramics come from the collection of Helen Espir and include varying styles and palettes such as famille rose and famille verte as well as Kakiemon and Imari decoration. It really is such a fascinating area of collecting and she has done much to increase our knowledge and understanding.

Lot 325 - A rare Chinese porcelain Dutch-decorated South Sea Bubble saucer  early 18th century, with moulded rim, enamelled in Holland c.1720 with a lady holding a spade and standing before a piece of paper on the ground, bearing the inscription 'Het is Wint', a feather falling from her left hand, the rim with flowering branches of prunus and peony, 13.5cm. Together with a British Museum, Prints and Drawings, photograph of a print of a pack of 18th century playing cards (see footnote). (2) Provenance: the Helen Espir Collection, no. 873. Purchased from E & H Manners, April 2003. Illustrated: Helen Espir, European Decoration on Oriental Porcelain, pp.155 and 156. This satirical reference to the foolishness of investors in the South Sea Company implies that this lady's shares are as 'light as a feather', i.e. worthless. The decoration derives from a pack of playing cards published in Amsterdam in 1720, this particular lady being the Queen of Spades, depicted as Madame Quincampoix. Estimate: £600 – 1000

Lot 325 – A rare Chinese porcelain Dutch-decorated South Sea Bubble saucer early 18th century, with moulded rim, enamelled in Holland c.1720 with a lady holding a spade and standing before a piece of paper on the ground, bearing the inscription ‘Het is Wint’, a feather falling from her left hand, the rim with flowering branches of prunus and peony, 13.5cm. Together with a British Museum, Prints and Drawings, photograph of a print of a pack of 18th century playing cards (see footnote). (2)
Provenance: the Helen Espir Collection, no. 873. Purchased from E & H Manners, April 2003.
Illustrated: Helen Espir, European Decoration on Oriental Porcelain, pp.155 and 156.
This satirical reference to the foolishness of investors in the South Sea Company implies that this lady’s shares are as ‘light as a feather’, i.e. worthless. The decoration derives from a pack of playing cards published in Amsterdam in 1720, this particular lady being the Queen of Spades, depicted as Madame Quincampoix.
Estimate: £600 – 1000

 

Lot 325 - A rare Chinese porcelain Dutch-decorated South Sea Bubble saucer  early 18th century, with moulded rim, enamelled in Holland c.1720 with a lady holding a spade and standing before a piece of paper on the ground, bearing the inscription 'Het is Wint', a feather falling from her left hand, the rim with flowering branches of prunus and peony, 13.5cm. Together with a British Museum, Prints and Drawings, photograph of a print of a pack of 18th century playing cards (see footnote). (2) Provenance: the Helen Espir Collection, no. 873. Purchased from E & H Manners, April 2003. Illustrated: Helen Espir, European Decoration on Oriental Porcelain, pp.155 and 156. This satirical reference to the foolishness of investors in the South Sea Company implies that this lady's shares are as 'light as a feather', i.e. worthless. The decoration derives from a pack of playing cards published in Amsterdam in 1720, this particular lady being the Queen of Spades, depicted as Madame Quincampoix. Estimate: £600 – 1000

Lot 325 – A rare Chinese porcelain Dutch-decorated South Sea Bubble saucer early 18th century, with moulded rim, enamelled in Holland c.1720 with a lady holding a spade and standing before a piece of paper on the ground, bearing the inscription ‘Het is Wint’, a feather falling from her left hand, the rim with flowering branches of prunus and peony, 13.5cm. Together with a British Museum, Prints and Drawings, photograph of a print of a pack of 18th century playing cards (see footnote). (2)
Provenance: the Helen Espir Collection, no. 873. Purchased from E & H Manners, April 2003.
Illustrated: Helen Espir, European Decoration on Oriental Porcelain, pp.155 and 156.
This satirical reference to the foolishness of investors in the South Sea Company implies that this lady’s shares are as ‘light as a feather’, i.e. worthless. The decoration derives from a pack of playing cards published in Amsterdam in 1720, this particular lady being the Queen of Spades, depicted as Madame Quincampoix.
Estimate: £600 – 1000

I shall leave Helen Espir to sum it up: So why am I selling my collection, gradually accumulated since 1993? Every piece has been bought for a reason, the majority because I found each one fascinating and attractive, and because they each had a place in the story I was trying to understand, and a few just because of their important place in the history even though I thought they were very unattractive at the time. Having had the good fortune to have the results of my research and collecting published by Jorge Welsh in 2005 in my book, ‘European Decoration on Oriental Porcelain. 1700-1830’, I now feel able to pass them on and hope that other collectors will make new discoveries and derive as much pleasure as I have done.
Viewing: London. Selected highlights will be on view in London at Brian Haughton Gallery, 15 Duke Street, St James SW1Y 6BD
Monday 3rd November 10am – 4.30pm
Tuesday 4th November 10am – 4.30pm
Salisbury Viewing
Saturday 8th November 10am – 4.30pm
Monday 10th November 10am – 5pm
Tuesday 11th November 10am – 7pm
Wednesday 9am – 10.30am

Contact: John Axford +44 (0)1722 424506 johnaxford@woolleyandwallis.co.uk
Clare Durham + 44 (0)1722 424507 claredurham@woolleyandwallis.co.uk

http://www.woolleyandwallis.co.uk

Lot 345 - Two Chinese porcelain Dutch-decorated saucers  1st half 18th century, originally left in the white and later-enamelled in Holland, one with a scene of Adam and Eve beneath the Tree of Knowledge, the serpent offering the apple to Eve while birds fly above, the other decorated with a tall dovecote beneath a tree, a church and other European buildings beyond, 11cm. (2) Provenance: the Helen Espir Collection, nos. 896 and 925. Illustrated: Helen Espir, European Decoration on Oriental Porcelain, p.197, pl.54 for the Adam and Eve saucer. The enamel palette of both saucers is distinctly Dutch, and the subject of the first couple a traditional theme for Delft chargers. Estimate: £600 – 1000

Lot 345 – Two Chinese porcelain Dutch-decorated saucers 1st half 18th century, originally left in the white and later-enamelled in Holland, one with a scene of Adam and Eve beneath the Tree of Knowledge, the serpent offering the apple to Eve while birds fly above, the other decorated with a tall dovecote beneath a tree, a church and other European buildings beyond, 11cm. (2)
Provenance: the Helen Espir Collection, nos. 896 and 925.
Illustrated: Helen Espir, European Decoration on Oriental Porcelain, p.197, pl.54 for the Adam and Eve saucer.
The enamel palette of both saucers is distinctly Dutch, and the subject of the first couple a traditional theme for Delft chargers.
Estimate: £600 – 1000

Back cover – a group shot of pieces from the collection

Back cover – a group shot of pieces from the collection

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