Lot 238 , A fine and rare Chinese bamboo-root boys and fish bowl brush washer, 18th/19th century,
A fine and rare Chinese bamboo-root 'boys and fish bowl' brush washer, 18th/19th century, carved in the round from a bamboo-root node with two boys crouching at a fish bowl one holding a gourd and the other grasping two fish from the water, the sides of the bowl carved in high relief with rockwork and flowering shrubs, with caramel brown patina, 8.5cm wide, 5.2 cm high, tiny losses.
Provenance - Dr J W H Grice (1891-1976) collection.
Small losses to the tail of the fish in one boy's right hand, the flowers at the side of the fish bowl. The eyes are picked in black paint? and this is missing to one eye.
Dr John William Hawksley Grice (1891-1976) is regarded as a very important collector of carving in Britain; at the time he was collecting, he appears to have been unique among his peers for admiring Qing dynasty carvings. He wrote about 'Chinese Bamboo Carving' in Country Life in 1954, one of the first articles in English on the subject, and at the time he was collecting he appears to have been unique among his peers for admiring late carving. Dr Grice and his wife Kathleen moved to China in 1922 and he worked as a doctor in Tianjin for 30 years. He built his ivory and bamboo collection in China in the decades he spent there before leaving in 1952. He gave a sizeable proportion of his carved bamboo collection to London's Victoria and Albert Museum and donated other ivories and bamboo to the British Museum.
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Sold for £27,000