The English country homes have been a vast treasure house of Chinese works of art. Many in the trade feel that the best of the objects residing there have already been sold back to dealers in London. Now the trade looks to the US to satisfy the hunger from mainland China’s new class of collectors. But don’t count the British out just yet. Over the last three years, the regional auction house of Woolley & Wallis has held a May sale of Asian art that grew 20% by lot from 2008 to 2009 and 10% from 2009 to 2010. More than that, this year they blew away all previous records, according to The Art Newspaper:
The blockbuster Asian Art auction, held on 19-20 May, totalled a premium-inclusive £8.8 million, against pre-sale estimates of £2.5m-3.5m. This blew away the previous record of nearly £6m, also set by Woolley & Wallis at the Asian Art sale last May when a late 18th-century Imperial Qianlong jade waterbuffalo made £4.2m. According to the auctioneers, over 95% of the lots by value were bought by collectors from mainland China—a reflection of the increasing number of wealthy Chinese who are determined to repatriate their cultural heritage.
Jade Bell Rings in Record Sale for Regional Auction House (The Art Newspaper)