Décor Decoded: Chinese ceramics surface at Sheppard’s

Items could have landed in Ireland during the 17th century when ships from the Orient moored in Cork

Sheppard’s will hold its first auction of 2019 on January 29th, with 817 lots in a sale it’s calling Décor Decoded. Paintings, mirrors, period furniture and jewellery will be included in the 800 or so lots, most of which will be offered without reserve prices.

"There is great value to be had," says Philip Sheppard, with specific reference to Georgian pieces – for example Lot 214: a George III lowboy (a table with drawers designed for bedrooms)which has a guide price of €300-€500, and Lot 416: a George III Mahogany inlaid tea table (€200-€300). "Twenty years ago you would have paid up to 10 times as much for similar pieces."

Also included is a large collection (almost 30 lots) of Persian rugs, in an array of colours and sizes. “What you get is authenticity and choice” says Sheppard “and unless you have two bidders – in search of the same size and same colour, there is the chance that they can be purchased cheaply.”

Guide prices for the rugs depend on size and material but estimates start at around €50 with most of the rugs falling in the €200-€300 bracket, with larger pieces and silk items within the €300-€600 guide estimates.


The sale also includes a selection of Chinese ceramics, which would have arrived in Ireland during the 17th century when ships moored in Cork, and owners of country houses and estates purchased these curiosities directly off the ships. Many date from the Qing dynasty, which ruled China from 1644 until the establishment of the Republic of China in 1912.

These are what Sheppard terms “export ware” and differ in value from the highly prized imperial pieces – which came from the time in the 1860s when the Summer Palace was burned to the ground. Standing on 800 acres, it took 4,000 men three days to destroy the palace, who then looted the royal residence of its treasures.

Lot 441, is a wonderful blue and white charger, which is attributed to the Kangxi (the fourth emperor of the Qing dynasty) period of 1654-1722. In addition there are a number of blue and white ginger jars – Lot 48: An eighteenth century jar with an estimate of €30-€50, and Lot 131: from the Qing period – also €30- €50.

Items included in the sale are of Irish provenance, and “are ideal for someone starting out” according to Sheppard, and with so many items without reserve there is value to be had.

The auction will take place at Sheppard’s auction rooms in Durrow, Co Laois and online at liveauctioneers.com