Unique Qianlong ram and rider stars in Christie's $3.9m design sale

A rare and utterly unique Qianlong cloisonné enamel model of a recumbent ram and rider, dated to 1736-95, led Christie's sale of the collection of Walter Lees and his partner Mr NC, last Friday (July 16).

Depicting a recumbent ram and rider on a rectangular plinth, distinctive features of the model include long curling horns, and neat spiralling scrolls across its body which emulate fur.

The figure seated on the ram's back is dressed in ornate robes. The piece measures  7½ inches (19cm) wide and carried an estimate of £15,000-25,000 ($23,000-38,000).

The Qianlong cloisonné enamel model of a recumbent ram and rider,
dated to 1736-95

According to the lot notes, a virtually-identical identical recumbent cloisonné enamel ram is currently held in the Palace Museum, Beijing.

The inscription on the base
of the model

Apparently acquired from the noted London auction house Spink & Sons Ltd by the consignor in September 1966, the historic ram eventually rode to a final value of £361,250 ($556,686).

Elsewhere, Walter Lees' collection also featured works by Diego Giacometti, Russian silver, Indian ivories, Chinese cloisonné, and carefully chosen Louis XVI ormolu objects.

Lees began to amass his renowned collection after arriving in Paris as an honorary attaché at the British Embassy. In total, the 334 sold lots netted an incredible £2,529,350 ($3,897,728).


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