On 23 January, 2010 Sotheby’s will offer over 280 lots of Chinese export porcelain and China Trade paintings from the private collection of esteemed longtime dealer Elinor Gordon.
A fixture at the “Winter Antiques Show” since its inception in 1955, Gordon is largely credited with elevating Chinese Export Porcelain to an independent collecting category. Indeed she herself began as an avid collector before entering the trade in 1953. Over several decades, Gordon and her husband Horace quietly amassed a comprehensive collection of works made for both the European and American markets – a collection many knew through her book, ‘Collecting Chinese Export Porcelain’, published in 1977, but which few knew had survived more or less intact. After thirty years packed away in boxes throughout Gordon’s home, the collection will be exhibited in full at Sotheby’s New York galleries beginning January 16, 2010.
Christina Prescott-Walker, Head of European Ceramics and Chinese Export porcelain, commented, “We are delighted to be offering the private collection of Elinor Gordon, who was truly a pioneer of the field, and to be able to celebrate her love of collecting. Representing a broad range of interests and prices, this collection offers something for every collector at every level. From European market wares to American market pieces to armorial porcelain, it has been a great joy for us to discover Elinor’s gems, and to imagine how much fun she must have had acquiring them.”
Highlights of the collection include an ‘Order of the Cincinnati’ Plate, circa 1785 from the earliest service decorated with the order owned by George Washington and Henry Lee (est. $30/50,000), along with three pieces from other services decorated with the badge of the Society of the Cincinnati. Other top works include two pieces in the ‘Fitzhugh’ pattern, a green and orange dinner plate and an ‘American Eagle Decorated Platter’ (est. $5/7,000 and $12/18,000 respectively), as well as a ‘Pair of Hounds’ from the late 18th-century (est. $10/15,000).
Other top pieces of the collection include:
Rare Chinese Export tea bowl and saucer painted with the state seal of New Hampshire, made for John A. Colby of New Hampshire
Diameter of saucer 5 5/8 inches
Chinese Export figure of a reclining deer
Qianlong Period, late 18th-century
Length 7 1/2 inches
Chinese Export shipping plate, depicting the “Friendship” of Salem, Massachusetts
Diameter 10 inches
Chinese School: View of Hong Kong Island
watercolor and gouache on paper
length 43 inches
Very rare Chinese Export teapot stand from William Eustis’s Second Order of the Cincinnati Service
Length 7 1/8 inches
Rare Chinese Export teapot stand from William Eustis’s Order of the Cincinnati Service
Width 6 5/8 in.
Pair of Chinese Export figures of hounds
Height 9 1/2 inches
Image: American Eagle Decorated Platter. Est. $12/18,000. Photo: Sotheby’s.