RARE AND BEAUTIFUL SIX-VOLUME ATLAS FOLIO CATALOGUE OF ORIENTAL CERAMICS, BOUND IN SILK BOARDS AND BOXES, WITH 450 COLLOTYPE AND MOUNTED COLOR PLATES OF SPECIMENS FROM THE CHOU TO THE CH’IÊN LUNG DYNASTIES
HOBSON, Robert Lockhart and EUMORFOPOULOS, George. The George Eumorfopoulos Collection: Catalogue of Chinese, Corean and Persian Pottery and Porcelain. London: Ernest Benn, (1925-28). Six volumes. Atlas folio, original three-quarter black cloth gilt, gold silk boards, black morocco cover labels, uncut. Housed in original embroidered silk clamshell boxes.
Limited first edition of this monumental collection of ancient Oriental pottery and porcelains, number 411 of only 725 sets, illustrated with 450 collotype and mounted color plates of museum-quality specimens. An extraordinary and beautiful production.
In January 1935, “in the basement of the Victoria & Albert Museum and in the Buddhist Room of the British Museum, curators and assistants were ripping open boxes and crates, carefully lifting out ancient bits of precious porcelain. Keeper of Oriental Antiquities Robert Lockhart Hobson was most excited about a green bronze ram dating from 1200 B.C. and valued at £10,000. And there was plenty more: Ming vases. T’ang burial figures, carved jades, Hawthorn jars, gold, bronze and ivory figures, in all about 3,000 pieces bought for Britain this month at a cost of £100,000 from George Eumorfopoulos, vice president of Ralli Brothers, Ltd., private bankers and importers of rope, rice, cotton, hemp from India. With his business interests in the East, Eumorfopoulos began seriously to collect Oriental art in about 1905. Unlike other rich men he employed no dealers, hired no experts, did all his own buying in Paris or London… [In 1935] Eumorfopoulos arranged with the Victoria & Albert and British Museums to buy some of his art collection for half a million dollars. Curator Hobson considered the sale a rare bargain: ‘It was truly a princely gesture on the part of Mr. Eumorfopoulos” (Time Magazine). According to present-day art historians, Eumorfopoulos’ taste “was driven by notions of authenticity and purity of design originating in contemporary British design discourse, that had a powerful ethical, as well as aesthetic, dimension” (Judith Green). The six large volumes of Hobson’s catalogue of the collection contain specimens respectively from the Chou to the end of the T’ang dynasty; from T’ang to Ming: Ju, Kuan, Ko, Lung-chüan and Chien wares; from T’ang to Ming: Chün, Ting and Tz’u Chou wares; The Ming dynasty; The Ch’ing dynasty porcelain: K’ang Hsi, Yung Chêng, Ch’iên Lung, and later periods; and Chinese pottery, Corean and Persian wares, and recent additions.
Fine condition, in original embroidered silk boxes, some slightly dampstained and lids starting. A magnificant set.