Published: August 19, 2003
– A highly important China Trade painting by Sunqua depicting the ship Samuel Russell at Whampoa Anchorage, topped yet another blockbuster sale by Northeast Auctions this past weekend, August 16-17. Just under 1,200 lots were offered in the two-day sale with a gross of $3.7 million realized.
The painting, circa 1850, measured an impressive 30 by 40 inches and retained the original black lacquer China Trade frame.
“Sunqua was one of the most accomplished painters on the China Coast,” stated the catalog, with this work being the “largest and most dramatic of his China Trade ship portraits.” Auctioneer Ron Bourgeault called the Sunqua work “as fine as any marine painting by a Westerner of this period,” and further stated that it is “considered to be one of the most important trade paintings of the period.”
Bidding on the rare painting opened on the floor at $75,000 and took off with several in the room chasing the lot. In the end, however, a private collector bidding by telephone claimed the picture at $222,500.
Porcelain pieces also did quite well with several pieces of orange Fitzhugh leading the way. The top lot was a covered soup tureen decorated with spread-winged eagles that sold between estimates at $54,625.
A complete review of the sale will appear in a future issue.
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