Riesco collection to be auctioned by Christie's in Hong Kong
The controversial sale of prestigious Chinese ceramics from the council's Riesco collection is to go ahead in Hong Kong later this year.
Arts auction house Christie's, which will conduct the sale, expect the collection's 24 most valuable items to fetch between £9m and £14.2m when they go under the hammer in November.
Croydon Council anticipated making £13m from the pieces, which are the most prized among its 230 ceramic vases, plates and bottles spanning Neolithic era and 19th century.
The council plans to invest money generated by the sale in the refurbishment of Fairfield Halls and claims it cannot afford to keep the items on display.
But critics have accused the council off selling off cultural assets "to chase a quick buck".
The "unethical" sell-off has been repeatedly criticised by cultural organisations - including the Museums Assocation, Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund - which have accused the council of undermining trust in museums.
A porcelain pilgrim bottle, left, from the Xuande period (1426-35) and a porcelain vase from the Kangxi period (1662-1722) are to go up for sale
But Councillor Tim Pollard, the council's culture spokesman, said: "The high insurance and security costs of maintaining this collection do not provide value for money to Croydon taxpayers.
"Instead the council intends to get the maximum financial return on the small portion of the collection being sold to invest in Croydon’s cultural infrastructure[.]"
The ceramics, which were bought by the council upon the death of local collector Raymond Riesco in 1964, will go under the hammer on November 27.
The 230-piece collection encompasses ninth-century tomb models and valuable Ming china.
Christie's described the items up for sale - predominantly from the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties - "fresh to the market with strong provenance".
The artworks will tour New York, Hong Kong, London and Taipei ahead of the auction in Hong Kong.
Jonathan Stone, chairman and international head of Asian art at Christie's, said: "We are pleased to have been selected to auction these ceramics following a competitive tender process resulting from the decision to sell part of the collection."
- Firefighters urge drunken cooks to get themselves a takeaway during pension strikes
- Partygoers get in the festive spirit with karaoke
- Health group to help residents get best of health and social care services in Croydon
- Paedophile jailed after sex letter mistakenly sent to neighbour
- Sisters call for law change after £1.3m payout man died penniless
Comments are closed on this article.