Ten Chinese Export armorial plates, conservatively estimated at $1,000 to $2,000, catapulted to a final bid of $16,157.50 (including 15% buyers premium) at Cleveland-based Aspire Auctions' recent sale ending Sept. 2.
The Kang Hsi (circa 1720) plates, noted as heavily glazed with carved rims, were painted with the arms of Jekyll, from Bocking in Fess, granted in 1670, impaling Somers of London, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire. The crest is "A horse's head couped argent, bridled sable tasselled and studded or."
The set was made for Sir Joseph Jekyll, son of antiquarian Thomas Jekyll, who was Master of the Rolls from 1717 to 1738. According to the auction catalog, he played a prominent role in exposing the directors of the South Sea Company, helping to end the prevalent belief that prosperity could be achieved through unlimited expansion of credit.
Aspire's Ellen Gries Cole Auction attracted 252 international bidders vying for 163 lots.
Provenance played a role in the high interest. Several Chinese export lots, including some de-accessioned from the Cleveland Museum of Art, were once part of the esteemed private collections of Helena Woolworth McCann, a former owner of Beauport mansion, now a property of Historic New England; Lucille and Robert Gries, patrons of the Cleveland Museum of Art; and Elinor Gordon, the renowned dealer and Chinese Export specialist.
Among the offered fine art, Leon Kroll's (1884-1974) 1914 oil painting "Broadway Looking South" stood out, nearly doubling its high estimate to reach $23,287.50 (est. $8,000-12,000).
With an average sale of about $1,000.00 per lot, the strong overall result of 97.55% lots sold grossed $203,579.00.
Aspire's next auction is Sept. 17 to 25, and features Russian silver and gold glass holders with the marks of Ivan Khlebnikov (est. $3,000/5,000), sculptures by Malvina Cornell Hoffman (American, 1885-1996), and a wide selection of European paintings and works on paper.