Duke's of Dorchester, UK are having a much anticipated sale of important Chinese Art in two weeks' time which will star 'Treasures from the Summer Palace' on May 19.
The expected top lot, as we've reported, is a Chinese white jade cup and saucer. The piece is made from stone of pure and even tone with a lustrous polish, and is from the era of Qianlong. The handles are embellished with stags to symbolise longevity. It is expected to sell for up to $330,000.
However, it is certainly not the only spectacular highlight in the sale.
Another is a fine George III gold enamel and diamond-set watch made for the Chinese market signed William Anthony London no. 1751. The exterior of the case is set with a central rose-cut diamond within a border of diamond-set leaves with diamonds between on a damascened blue enamel ground.
It is enclosed by a subsidiary enamelled border picked out in duck egg blue red and white. The outer border is set with two bands of seed pearls and the suspension loop has conforming decoration. The white enamel dial has a sweep seconds hand and Roman numerals in black with Arabic numerals 15, 30, 45, and 60 at the quarters.
All are enclosed by a double border of seed pearls together with a key enamelled with a young girl with a bird in a basket on one side and a kneeling boy on the other in a fitted case.
The interior of the watch bears an inscription indicating that it was acquired by Captain James Gunter of the Kings Dragoon Guards in October 1860.
William Anthony (1765-1844) worked in Red Lion Street of St. John's Square Clerkenwell and specialised in watches for the Chinese market. This example is particularly magnificent and on a large scale.
It was almost certainly given as tribute to the Emperor Qianlong by the English Royal Family during the reign of King George III but it post-dates the Macartney Embassy to Beijing of 1793 by three years.
The Emperor Qianlong was well known for his passion for European works of art and his particular fondness for watches which he considered amongst his most cherished possessions. This piece is expected to bring £50,000-100,000 (up to $165,000).