Col­lec­tors turn to Bri­tain, Europe in search for an­tiques

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD - By BO LEUNG in Lon­don bole­ung@mail.chi­nadai­lyuk.com

Bri­tish ce­ram­ics and Euro­pean works of art have be­come in­creas­ingly sought-af­ter among Chi­nese col­lec­tors, ac­cord­ing to ex­perts.

Ex­hibitors pre­par­ing for the “An­tiques for Every­one Fair” in the English city of Birm­ing­ham said they have seen a sharp rise re­cently in sales to the Asian mar­ket in gen­eral.

Ian Rodgers, owner of Drove House An­tiques, a spe­cial­ist in Chi­nese ce­ram­ics, said the ad­di­tional in­ter­est was down to im­proved knowl­edge.

Rodgers said: “We prob­a­bly sell 50 per­cent of the items on our web­site to the Chi­nese main­land, Tai­wan, and Hong Kong. A lot of sales go to Hong Kong and we’re find­ing that ... we’re get­ting a great deal of vis­i­tors, ei­ther from that re­gion or with links to that re­gion.”

Although Chi­nese porce­lain re­mains pop­u­lar, Drove House An­tiques has seen a grow­ing de­mand for quintessen­tially English porce­lain, which “ap­peals to Euro­pean tastes, but its pop­u­lar­ity also seems to be spread­ing fur­ther to­ward the Chi­nese mar­ket”.

Rodgers said col­lec­tors in the Chi­nese mar­ket ap­pre­ci­ate qual­ity and good de­sign.

“It’s a very good mar­ket for us to break into,” he said. “The one dif­fer­ence we have no­ticed is that they’re be­ing more se­lec­tive and con­sid­ered about what to go for.”

In ad­di­tion to Bri­tish ce­ram­ics, Chi­nese col­lec­tors are seek­ing out other gen­res, in­clud­ing tex­tiles.

The “An­tiques for Every­one Fair” is staged three times a year. At the spring fair that was held in April, or­ga­niz­ers noted the sharp rise in in­ter­est among Chi­nese and other Asian col­lec­tors was” bring­ing busi­ness to many deal­ers”.

Ju­lian Eade, of Ju­lian Eade An­tiques, which spe­cial­izes in artist-signed Royal Doul­ton pot­tery and porce­lain, said he too had no­ticed a “sig­nif­i­cant rise” in in­ter­est among col­lec­tors from Asia.

“The big shift came prob­a­bly around 2010 when it be­came clear peo­ple from that re­gion were be­com­ing more ed­u­cated about English porce­lain — be it Worces­ter, Min­ton, or other such names. It isn’t nec­es­sar­ily peo­ple com­ing over as such, but peo­ple from China and the Far East are in con­tact with peo­ple here who ef­fec­tively buy on their be­half,” he said.

“There seems to be a niche mar­ket, al­most like a nov­el­ty­like at­trac­tion to our range, and it’s great to know the mar­ket is grow­ing.”

Dun­can Phillips, an art and an­tiques con­sul­tant, said: “Sev­eral hun­dred Chi­nese and Asian vis­i­tors reg­u­larly at­tend the An­tiques for Every­one fairs, many of whom are res­i­dent in the UK. They are of­ten young and af­flu­ent and look­ing to ac­quire an­tiques re­lated to their own her­itage.”

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