Bank of China Manager, Dong Wang, holds the Chinese silver-decorated Haig’s whisky bottle – treasured possession of Adrien von Ferscht who recently gave an illustrated talk on “Chinese Antique Export Silver” at the Glasgow Art Club. Also pictured at the event with Adrien are Tim Wong, River Fu and Xikai Jia, all from the Bank of China Glasgow branch.
Adrien is one of the leading experts in Chinese Export Silver in the UK and is consultant to Lyon & Turnbull for this unique sector of antique silver.
“This is probably one of my personal favourite items. Several Chinese Export Silver silversmiths created decanters by making elaborate reticulated silver ³cages² over simple Haig ³Dimple² whisky bottles.
You might be surprised to learn that Haig first introduced the dimple bottle in the early 1890¹s and it became an instant success across the world and probably the world¹s first designer packaging. .
These decanters became a Chinese Export Silver oddity and somewhat of a must-have, resulting in them being copied by other Chinese master silversmiths.
Decanters made by Wang Hing are considered the finest and tend to command the highest values typically from £2000 upwards, but this price is rapidly rising as they are once again a sought after status symbol amongst affluent Chinese .”
Chinese Export Silver was created by highly skilled master silversmiths in China from the mid 18th century onwards. They copied the western style, but many of the pieces carry an unmistakable Chinese flavour. It was avidly collected by European royalty including Catherine the Great and our own Royal family with many pieces still remaining in the Hermitage and our own Royal collection.
Silver was to be found in abundance in China – successive Emperors insisted that trade could only be done with China on payment of special silver coinage known as ‘pieces of eight’. This became the raw material that produced the items commissioned by ships’ captains to bring back to Europe to sell.
Lyon & Turnbull is the only UK auction house to have dedicated in-house expertise in Chinese Export Silver and will be holding the first ever Chinese Export Silver sale in the UK on June 26 in Edinburgh.