The International Herald Tribune‘s Souren Melikian reveals this fascinating contradiction at the heart of the global trade in Chinese antiquities and works of art: London is the undisputed center of the trade in the 21st Century even though the great British collectors of the 20th Century have disappeared:
The Bonhams sale scheduled on Nov. 5 is a farewell to the last remains of the admirable collections that were put together in Britain from the 1920s down to the 1960s by some of the most discerning connoisseurs in the Western world. […] foreign buyers to outnumber Britons by 10 to 1. The late Lord Cunliffe was an engineer by training who went into the family banking business. There are more Britons in the lucrative financial professions than ever. Apparently, these no longer spend money on the classics of Chinese art.
In Chinese Art Trade, the English Aren’t Buying (New York Times)